In order to provide a Covid update, this blog highlights the commonly asked questions being answered by Dr. Farhan Abdul Azeez.
Will getting the Pfizer vaccine prevent you from getting COVID-19?
To give you an answer, we need to talk about Infection vs Disease. The term “infection” literally refers to the act of contracting a virus. The term “disease” refers to when a virus causes symptoms. The first thing to remember about the Pfizer trial is that it focused on illness rather than infection. To put it another way, it didn’t look at whether the vaccine stops you from getting sick.
What about the well-known 95 percent efficacy rate? This relates to disease effectiveness (i.e., did people become symptomatic due to COVID-19), not an infection. When comparing the vaccinated group to the placebo group, the trial found that the vaccinated group had a 95 percent lower risk of developing COVID-19 disease. This is a brilliant outcome.
Can the vaccine prevent transmission of the virus?
The transmission was not examined in the trial. If the vaccine does not protect you from contracting the virus, it is reasonable to assume that if you come into contact with it, you will be infectious and will spread it. We do know, however, that the vaccine is successful in preventing COVID-19 infection. However, as the population becomes more vaccinated, the number of asymptomatic carriers may increase. Of course, this may exacerbate asymptomatic spread, which is already estimated to be between 40 and 50 percent. This is a major concern.
If you get vaccinated, can you stop wearing masks and social distancing?
Unfortunately, the answer is no for now.
The above two observations – not understanding whether the vaccine prevents infection or transmission – have significant ramifications. To prevent further dissemination to populations where the vaccine has not yet reached or is ineffective, vaccinated individuals will need to continue wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
Vaccines would not be the magic bullet that allows you to return to normal life in the next 8-12 months, at least not until enough people have been vaccinated or we have confirmed that transmission has stopped. As painful as it is to say, think of the vaccine as a complement to masking and social distancing in the meanwhile.
What is the period of immunity?
For the time being, at least four months. We’ll have to wait and see for a much accurate answer. There’s a chance you’ll need a booster in X months or years. All we can do now is wait and see.
How long does it take for the vaccine to be effective?
Multiple exposures are often needed for the body to mount an appropriate response. According to researchers, the efficacy of this vaccine was about 52 percent after one dose. About 14 days after the first dose, you’ll notice a difference (the body does take some time to mount an antibody response). That being said, 21 days after the first dose, the second dose was given, and efficacy went up to 95% seven days after that.
In other words, if you get the vaccine as directed, one dose on day 1, one dose on day 21, and one dose on day 28, you’ll be well protected against COVID-19 disease by day 28.
If the vaccine doesn’t change our DNA, how does it work?
In the vaccine case, once the mRNA reaches the cell, it enters the ribosome, using the cell’s system to create proteins that will be discharged. These proteins are similar to the Coronavirus Spike protein, which is produced when COVID-19 infects a cell.
The body identifies it as a virus even though it isn’t one and mounts an immune response to it. When the body is exposed to the true virus, it will be able to combat it.
These are some of the most commonly asked questions being answered. You can learn more health news today at Pakistan Observer.