In an ideal world or theory, a pandemic vaccine describes being delivered in a single shot, so that supplies could be stretched to cover a lot of people with ease. This would trigger no side effect more significantly than a sore arm and can be easy to ship and store.
However, it is a must to share that in the initial rollout of vaccines, individuals are unlikely to be offered a choice of which vaccine they want due to the supply chain. The vaccine available at the place where you are being vaccinated is the one you’ll get for the time being.
Currently, three different Covid-19 vaccines are now being distributed across the United States, and all three are highly effective at the most important thing- which is preventing hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19. (Stat News, 2021)
- COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca all have unique features and are difficult to compare or share which is best.
- They vary in effectiveness, side effects, dosage, and ages approved for the shots as well.
- Here is a table that defines them all to provide you an idea.
Although the safety of all the vaccines is being closely monitored by the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even after a vaccine is authorized for use, its safety monitoring systems continue to watch for side effects. Here’s what you need to know about the different COVID-19 vaccines at a glance:
The Side Effect Profile
In general terms of vaccinology, all vaccine shots that trigger a range of transient side effects in a lot of recipients are known as reactogenic.
All of these vaccines mentioned had reported data with some or minimum side effects. The most common side effects are injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain.
Fewer people during the clinical trials had also reported fever with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines however, side effects are more common after the second dose. Younger adults, who have more robust immune systems had reported more side effects than older adults.
To be explained: These side effects are a sign of an immune system kicking into gear and that doesn’t provide any signal that the vaccine is unsafe.
Until today, there are no serious, long-term side effects found or associated with receipt of these vaccines and it will be very closely monitored as their use expands.
Safety Precautions for Pregnant & Lactating
Out of all the above mentioned, none of the vaccines has been tested in these two groups.
The CDC recommends until they have further updates on these two categories should not be vaccinated with these vaccines. (CDC, Pregnancy Title, 2021)
Durability of Protection
Figuring out how long the protection provided by any of these vaccines will last will take time for sure because it’s going to involve periodic blood draws from huge data resources to see what antibody levels look like post-vaccine.
But a large part of this work will involve watching for reports about who was immunized are starting to contract COVID in larger numbers. (Mayo Clinic, 2021)
It is up to each of us to stay up to date and informed on the progress of available COVID vaccines. This is unprecedented science and biology, and everything is being done to temper safety and reaction concerns. If you have questions, contact your primary care physician before receiving a vaccine. It is always best to ask questions up front rather than worry afterward. Our emergency room is ready 24/7 for any emergency surrounding COVID-19, post-COVID illness and post-COVID vaccines.
“Different COVID-19 Vaccines.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html
2, Helen Branswell Feb., et al. “Comparing Three Covid-19 Vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, J&J.” STAT, 3 Mar. 2021, www.statnews.com/2021/02/02/comparing-the-covid-19-vaccines-developed-by-pfizer-moderna-and-johnson-johnson/
“Comparing the Differences between COVID-19 Vaccines.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine/comparing-vaccines
“Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/pregnancy.html