09 Feb Is the Covid-19 Vaccine Really Safe?
edited Feb 21 to Add MB vaccine schedule link
Health has been forced to the forefront of our minds this past year. Where once many of us felt confident in our health and ability to remain healthy, this global pandemic has shaken the confidence of many. Now we have the option to take a vaccine to protect us from the Covid-19 virus.
Social media is blasting
conflicting and terrifying claims
about this new vaccine.
It seems that every claim is received
with equal acceptance and animosity.
As a Canadian you have the right to ask questions, to be informed, and to make your own decisions regarding your health. (Thank you, Canada for those freedoms!) Here are some things you need to know to make your own informed decision about the Covid-19 vaccine.
What do We Know About the Vaccine?
- Careful Testing All vaccines go through clinical trials to ensure their safety and effectiveness. The Covid-19 vaccine went through the required testing and the Development and Licensure of Vaccines to Prevent Covid-19 is a public document you can read to find what procedures were required. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided standards for vaccine developers and continues to monitor its safety.
- Extra Fast Vaccine Development: The Covid-19 vaccine is an mRNA vaccine that is different than most other vaccines we have at our disposal. Traditional vaccines have worked well to get diseases like polio and measles under control, but they take a very long time to develop. For a traditional vaccine, scientists grow a vast quantity of a virus and then weaken it by extracting critical pieces. These weakened viruses are injected either active or inactive, into the patient thereby imitating an infection. It does not cause the infection, but the body has an immune response creating antibodies. The new mRNA vaccines have been researched for 30 years by several groups of researchers. They are relatively easy to make, much faster to develop, and can generate a stronger type of immunity because they stimulate the immune system to create both antibodies and killer cells: a double virus killer (it in no way changes your DNA, as some social media posts have claimed). Since the only precursor to vaccine development is determining the gene structure of the virus, years of study are not required and a testable vaccine can be developed in just a few weeks!
- Emergency Testing Protocol: Before a product is allowed on the Canadian market, Health Canada reviews it to confirm that the FDA standards have been met. Both the FDA and Canada itself provided special Emergency provisions for speedy testing and delivery of a new vaccine due to the newness and severity of Covid-19. This speedy testing did NOT allow the manufacturers to skip any steps! Every step of the regular testing protocol was followed. Governments have shortened the volunteer testing protocol.
- Trial Transparency: Transparency is an important part of any drug trial process. Health Canada has provided details for the clinical trial results for anyone to read. There are no secrets here.
BUT… What About… Here are the facts about the claims you’ve read!
There have been some short-term mild or moderate reactions but they have resolved without incident.
The side effects:
37-45% injection site symptoms like pain or swelling
14-25% had at least one whole-body after effect like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain, or fever which appeared within 7 days of the first dose and lasted just a day or two
People With Allergies:
The CDC recommends that people with allergies can still have the vaccine, however, people with severe allergic reactions like anaphylactic reactions to other injectable vaccines should discuss this with their doctor and may be recommended to forgo the vaccine.
Not for Everyone, But it is for Most
If you have a serious condition, check with your specialist about the risks and value of taking the new Covid-19 vaccine. You and your specialist can come up with a plan that is right for your condition.
For most people, the Covid-19 is a safe way to protect our community, family, and ourselves.
When will I get the Vaccine?
You can check this link to find out details about the Manitoba vaccine roll out and a link to a calculator to estimate when you are eligable.
A Video From Johns Hopkins University