Pfizer & Maderna Vaccinations
Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept at extremely cold temperatures, -70 to –80 degrees. The Pfizer vaccine is two doses that need to be administered 21 days (about 3 weeks) apart.
KCHS will be receiving the Maderna vaccine. This vaccine only needs to be kept at freezing temperatures, 32 degrees. The Maderna vaccine is also a two-dose vaccine that needs to be administered 28 days (about 4 weeks) apart.
How the vaccination works
Historically vaccines have been made a few ways.
- They weaken a virus and then the weakened version of the virus is given to people. Our immune systems easily overcome the weakened version of the virus and in turn we become immune to the virus.
- A virus is inactivated and then administered.
- A portion of a virus that is specific to that virus is administered and we become immune that way.
The Pfizer and Maderna vaccines are a bit different but utilize the same principles. Both vaccines use mRNA from the coronavirus. mRNA acts as a part of the virus, specifically the spike protein, that is given to us. The mRNA is easily broken down by our bodies and will not interact with our DNA in any way.
Even though this is an exceedingly small portion of the coronavirus, our bodies recognize it as an attack. Quickly mobilizing the immune system to easily overcome the fractionalized portion of the virus. This is how we gain immunity.
How did we get these vaccines?
mRNA technology for vaccines has been around for decades in preparation for such a time as this. The timeline for creating a vaccine is an exceptionally long and rigorous process. It is also an extremely expensive process for companies to produce.
Due to the pandemic and the extenuating circumstances the United States Government asked companies to produce the vaccinations while the vaccinations were being tested. This saved precious time. Typically, a company would not begin production on a large scale for their vaccine until it had been approved. By overlapping the timelines of production and testing Pfizer and Maderna were able to maintain the highest quality of work while preparing to ship the vaccines across the country.
Clinical trials & side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination
43,000 for Pfizer and 30,000 Maderna vaccines. These are large scale trails by any standard that have not shown any dangerous side effects. In dealing with new vaccinations a standard 8-week window will show if there are any dangers of a vaccination. We are well outside of that window with no indications or signs that there is any danger of the COVID-19 vaccinations from either Pfizer or Maderna.
Most side effects felt by people are typical of any vaccination. In the process of become immune to the virus our bodies need to fight of the virus. Typical side effects:
- Muscle aches
- Flu like symptoms
- Injection site redness or swelling
Major reactions like anaphylaxes were in line with all other vaccinations. People that were excluded from the trial were people that have already demonstrated an allergic reaction to Pfizer vaccinations in the past. This means that people which allergies were tested. To add another layer of precaution the medical professionals administering the vaccination will monitor you for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccination to ensure a major allergic can be treated.
Should I wear a mask after recieving the vaccine?
Continue to wash your hands thoroughly, social distance, and wear your mask after your vaccine. The first dose of the vaccine provides a 60% immunity to the virus while the second dose brings that figure up to 95% immunity.
If you have had COVID-19 should you still get vaccinated?
Yes. Wait 90 days (about 3 months) after you have recovered from COVID-19 before receiving the vaccination. The vaccination will help boost your immunity to the coronavirus.
When will the vaccine be available?
We will be receiving vaccination shipments as early as late December. There is a recommended schedule for who will receive these vaccinations first.
- Long-term care residents
- Age 75+
- First responders
- Food & agriculture
- Corrections workers
- U.S.Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers
- Grocery store workers
- Age 65-74
- High risk medical conditions
- General Population
Can women who are pregnant or nursing recieve the vaccine?
Yes. The recommendation is a definite yes, even if you have allergies. It is recommended, that will all things surrounding pregnancy, that you consult your doctor.
Can children receive the vaccine?
At this time, it is not recommended that children receive the vaccine. There is not enough data and information to properly understand the effectiveness and risk associated with children and the vaccine.
Will more be required after 2 shots?
There is not enough data and information available to know if a booster will be required in the future.
How many people need vaccinated to achieve herd immunity?
Approximately 70% of the population. The goal is for the entire population to receive the vaccination.
Based on the information reviewed by the KCHS staff the vaccinations are safe. None of the vital testing procedures have been rushed, and the vaccines are effective and safe. If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccination please contact your healthcare professional at Kearney County Health Services.
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