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Stay Healthy, Stay Fit

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Introduction

Though people have started receiving COVID-19 vaccine doses, it is believed that we have to face a great amount of time combating this virus as the vaccine will take a long time for the vaccine to produce a prominent effect, while the pandemic carries on. Till then, people should anticipate that multiple restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic will be continued for some time as we will have to co-operate with the authorities to diminish transmission of COVID-19 infection. It is believed that you will probably be required to continue adorning a mask and keeping a physical distance from each other while in public for quite a few coming months, even after you receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

No clear change evident for the near future

Everyone must realize that there will be no “instant change” in our community because of limited vaccine production and high demand. Hence, our lives won’t be shifting back to our predetermined notion of “normal” anytime shortly.

Also, vaccines are being given on a priority basis to forefront healthcare workers and the high-risk elderly population. But in a country like India, there are not sufficient vaccine doses available, to meet the required demand.

In addition to the above constraints, some vaccines need “ultra-cold temperature facilities” with -80°C freezers for their storage, which is a challenge for some economically less-developed territories. This situation reflects that facilities having the capacity to store massive quantities of the vaccine properly will be required, and then equally distribute it to every area of a state. The COVID-19 vaccine will need two doses, 3 to 4 weeks apart, as with the majority of other immunizations and for this to be accomplished appropriately, strict public health tracking would have to be in place to ensure people recognize accurate timings to receive their second dose after receiving the first dose.

No more ‘old normal’

Experts believe that there is still no real-world data available to ascertain the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines with complete surety. As of current knowledge, it is likely you could be protected from the symptoms of the disease, but it “might not protect you from getting infected and transmitting the infection. This means that we still need to adhere to the same preventive protocols.

The long road ahead

The duration of effectiveness of the current COVID-19 vaccines is also not clear, unlike the vaccines for other viral diseases, which provide life-long immunization. It is thought that with this coronavirus vaccine, if you get it once, your immunity will leave sooner or later, matching other flu conditions.

However, there is a silver lining to the dark cloud of this virus. It doesn’t seem to transform at a rapid rate, like influenza. It means that it won’t require regular development of new vaccines.

However, “patience” is the need of the hour as it will take months for the COVID-19 vaccine to become available freely for a majority of the population. Hence, people must not assume at this juncture that they won’t be needing to wear masks after a couple of months. Instead, people should accept that they still need to follow preventive norms for COVID-19 in terms of face masks and physical distancing for the next 4 to 6 months.

What you can and cannot do after getting your COVID-19 vaccine shot?

Drives for coronavirus vaccination have been initiated all across the globe. In India, over 2 lakh people have been vaccinated as of now and more stages are already in motion to immunize elderly individuals, individuals with co-morbid conditions, subsequently the younger population. At present, vaccination is the only good way of accomplishing herd immunity and will give the authorities and all the people at large, an estimated time by when things would be improving.

However, vaccination does not promise a total end to the pandemic. The vaccines are still experimental, and there is no reliable evidence to support their effectiveness in a “real-world” scenario. Again, mass inoculation and rates of prevention also depend on the number of people getting the vaccine, and the doses accessible for use. Thus, the resumption of a total pre-COVID lifestyle won’t be so relaxed even if vaccines make life easier. Following is a list of actions you can safely perform, and the ones you cannot even after getting vaccinated

1) You can’t throw your mask away at this moment

2) You cannot consume alcohol for 45 days

A vaccine can only perform in the presence of a strong and healthy immune system. For the same reason, it has been recommended to people to avoid consuming alcohol and certain things that can make immunity weak for some days. Alcohol is alleged to destroy the functioning of the immune system and make a person incapable of developing adequate elicitation of an immune response after receiving the vaccine dose. Hence, as per the expert opinion, people should avoid alcohol consumption for at least 45 days after their vaccination.

3) You can resume caring for COVID-19 patients

Caregiving for COVID-19 patients can be initiated by the doctors and health care workers who receive their entire vaccine doses (In most cases, both the doses). Hence, vaccination has been prioritized for the frontline-healthcare workers, doctors, and indispensable staff.

While basic precautions will still need to be followed, with COVID immunized records, you will have faint chances of getting infected from direct exposure to patients, and relieve the anxiety of their loved ones.

4) You will still be required to follow physical distancing

5) You will still be required to avoid public places

Vaccination won’t give people a license to stroll or meet in large numbers- at least at the start. Till an ample proportion of herd immunity is reached, there will be an abundant number of non-immunized people who, if infected, can transmit it to other people.

Introduction

The mutation of viruses

The genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 is a ribonucleic acid (RNA) composed of over 30,000 units. Among numerous RNA virus families, the coronaviruses carry the largest genetic material. The majority of other RNA viruses are composed of about 10,000 units.

When any genetic material reproduces — be it the smallest viruses to humans — random errors (or mutations) occur. While higher organisms possess the mechanism to correct these errors, viruses and especially the RNA viruses do not contain any such mechanisms. The majority of mutations are harmful, but such viruses are never seen. Only those mutations that provide some careful advantage result in the development of novel viral variants.

Why is the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 from the United Kingdom causing fear?

Three things are accumulating at present which is causing fear concerning the UK variant:

  • It is swiftly replacing other versions of the SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 virus
  • It carries mutations that disturb virus parts which are probably important
  • Some of those mutations have at present been presented to elevate the virus’s ability to infect cells in laboratory investigations.

There is extensive concern that these mutations may end the role of currently used tests in detecting the virus, make it more threatening, or let it escape the vaccines. However, till now, no evidence exists which proves any of the above worries. In any case, these variants were diagnosed by currently available RT-PCR tests.

Said so, there is clear evidence that this variant is more contagious. Patients getting infected with this variant produce more virus in their nose and throat, which leads to more shedding of the virus and more chances of transmission from one person to another. Though these variants seem not to be more lethal, being more contagious means that there would be higher numbers of severe infections and deaths, which is currently a cause for worry.

Why should people not panic?

The majority of professionals believe that vaccines presently in development and use would also work on the variant viruses.

Will the vaccines work against the new variant?

All leading vaccines, available in the UK and elsewhere, where the variant is spreading extensively, are capable of developing an immune response against the existing spike. Vaccines enable the immune system to attack several different target sites on the virus, hence despite a mutation of a single spike, the vaccines should still be effective.

How far has it spread?

The discrete mutant (named B.1.1.7) of SARS-CoV-2 was recently identified in the UK. The two earliest variants of this viral lineage were collected on September 20 and 21 from Kent and Greater London respectively. By December 15, this family grew to 1,623 viruses in London and other regions of the UK including Scotland and Wales, and then in Europe and later in Australia (4 from Australia, Denmark, Italy, and The Netherlands). On Christmas eve — the cases of these variant viruses more than doubled to 3,575; majority from the UK, but also being reported from France, Ireland, Israel, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Data suggests that cases in Denmark, Australia, and The Netherlands came from the UK. A similar variant even appeared in South Africa which shared several mutations of the UK variant, but seems not related to this one.

Has this phenomenon occurred earlier?

Yes. The virus that was detected first in Wuhan, China, is different from the virus that is found in the majority of the places in the rest of the world. The D614G mutated variant emerged in Europe in February and became the leading form of the virus, worldwide. Another mutated strain, called A222V, spread throughout Europe and was associated with Spanish patients, traveling in summer.

What do we know about the new mutations?

Viruses of the European line have gathered 23 mutations across 5 genes versus the original SARS-CoV-2 strains. Of these, there are 17 non-synonymous and six synonymous mutations. Notably, eight of the 17 non-synonymous mutations, are present in the protein that permits the virus to attach to and enter human cells. (Spike Protein)

  • The N501Y mutation in one of the principal contact residues in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein increases its affinity for the ACE2 receptor. The N501Y change is also associated with increased infectivity and virulence in animal models. Both these mutations were earlier observed independently, but have come together in the UK variant viruses, resulting in a virus form that spreads more rapidly than before.
  • The P681H mutation in the site of the cleavage between the S1 and S2 domains of the spike protein stimulates entry into vulnerable cells and surges transmission.
  • Another mutation – an H69/V70 deletion, where a small portion of the spike is deleted – has appeared many times before. It has been suggested that this mutation elevates infectivity by two times in laboratory experiments. The same research suggests that the deletion produces antibodies from the blood of survivors which are less effective at countering the virus.

Does it make the infection more deadly?

No present evidence indicates that these mutations produce deadlier forms of the disease, but, it needs to be watched. Also, just growing transmission would be sufficient to create troubles for the health care system. If the new variant is capable to infect more people rapidly, it would mean that an increasing number of people would necessitate hospital treatment at a single reference point.

Can such mutated variants spread in India?

  • Though India ceased all air-traffic from the UK and other European countries and increased surveillance at airports to stop importing this highly transmissible form of virus variant, such variants could develop within India with ease. In any case, India has reported more than 10 million confirmed cases and as per an estimate, 150 to 200 million people are already infected.
  • A rapidly spreading variant called 501.V2 arose in South Africa and portions of the N501Y mutation of the UK variants have not been reported in India, yet, but viruses with the P681H mutation began showing up in July itself and currently 14% of SARS-CoV-2 spreading in India transmits this mutation. Though these viruses are chiefly reported from Maharashtra, cases have also been detected in West Bengal. One more such mutated form can easily transform the current state of the pandemic in India to the state of the UK, which is a cause of grave concern.
  • The conditions thought to be conducive for the development of the UK variant are present in India also. Immunodeficient patients, who become chronically infected with SARS-CoV-2, stay positive for 2-4 months as compared to the typical 2-3 weeks.
  • Sequencing of the viral genetic material from such patients has shown remarkably large numbers of changes. Viral genetic diversity from patient-to-patient is known to increase after plasma therapy, in immunodeficient patients, frequently used for treating such patients.
  • Poor nutritional status is an established cause for weak immunity and clinicians in India have testified chronic infection in such patients.
  • As of 9th January 2021, the number of people in India who have tested positive for the new mutated COVID-19 strain has reached 90.

It is normal, if you face side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, as a matter of fact, from any vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are the earliest ones to be developed from mRNA technology. Despite being highly effective, these vaccines also bear a possibility of causing a visible immune response (termed as “reactogenic”), leading to side effects.

These side effects are characteristic of inflammation brought by vaccines and are a symbol that your body is developing an immune response to the vaccine. Some vaccines are more reactogenic while some people may experience worse reactions versus others. The side effects of COVID-19 vaccines resemble those experienced after receiving any other vaccine.

What side effects are likely to occur after the COVID-19 vaccination?

Though side effects may differ with the type of COVID-19 vaccine, the traditional side effect is tenderness at the injection site. You may also come across other side effects such as tiredness, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills, and perhaps fever. These side effects will normally be felt for a couple of days, and maximum for a few days.

Will you experience the same side effects after each dose?

Since COVID-19 vaccines come in two doses, the varying response can be noticed. As per evidence, side effects were more frequently felt after the second dose in clinical trials.

Can side effects be more prominent in elderly and/or co-morbid patients?

No—actually, side effects have been less commonly seen and have been less severe in adults older than 55 years after vaccination, as per the clinical trials.

Do children experience side effects from COVID-19 vaccines?

The side-effect profile of COVID-19 vaccines in children is not yet understood completely.

How would you ensure that your side effects are normal?

The details of side effects will be explained to you at the time of vaccination and you will also be given the details as to when you should consult a doctor.

You can consult your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol if you have pain or discomfort at the injection site. You can also try the following measures, to relieve your pain and discomfort:

  • Apply a clean and damp cloth over the site.
  • Perform frequent movements with your arm, where you have received the shot.
  • Consume lots of fluids and dress casually, if you have a fever.

When to consult your doctor?

It is advised that you should contact your doctor if the inflammation at your injection site increases after 24 hours, or in case, your side effects are a cause of worry and are not disappearing even after a few days.

How will you ensure that you are experiencing side effects and not symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection?

The side effects of the vaccine usually commence within 12 to 24 hours after getting vaccinated. However, it may be tough to differentiate between symptoms and side effects, if you get infected between vaccine doses. If you experience side effects that continue even after 48 hours, you should consult a doctor.

Is it possible for me to contract COVID-19 between doses?

Yes. Hence, each one must continue wearing masks, follow social distancing norms, and engage in frequent hand washing.

The first dose won’t give total protection, and it takes approximately seven days before you will achieve a full protective level of immunity after your second dose that occurs in about 95% of vaccine receivers. You could develop COVID-19 if you get exposed to SARS-CoV-2 before this period. Even after receiving both doses, it will still be vital to continue practicing public health saving strategies stated above, until the pandemic is brought under control.

Can you catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, it is not possible to catch COVID-19 from the vaccine, but it is indeed possible to have developed COVID-19 and not realize until you get symptoms until you get this vaccine. The most vital symptoms to look out for are:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or alteration in, your normal sense of taste or smell

Though a minor fever can happen within 2 days of vaccination, if you carry any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts for a prolonged duration, quarantine yourself and get tested.

Can you go back to normal activities after having your vaccine?

Yes. You should be able to restart routine activities as long as you feel well. If your arm is predominantly sore, you may find it difficult to lift heavy objects with that arm. If you feel fatigued, rest, and avoid performing complex tasks.

Will the vaccine protect you?

The COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for use have demonstrated a reduction in the chances of getting COVID-19 disease in individuals who have taken the vaccine. Each vaccine has been tested in more than 20,000 individuals in multiple countries and is shown to be safe. However, like all medicines, no vaccine is 100% effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection. Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this would be less severe.

Concluding Remarks

  • Side effects may resemble symptoms of flu and even disturb your ability to perform routine activities, but normally they disappear in a few days.
  • In the case of the majority of current COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots for them to be effective. Even if you develop side effects after the first shot, contract the second shot, except in cases where your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.
  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.
  • Everyone needs to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

Lately, we’re seeing and listening about COVID-19 vaccines day in and day out. But how many of us know how do COVID-19 vaccines work? Very few. Here’s all about COVID-19 vaccines, the number of doses required to fight the virus and how it is going to benefit you and the world. 

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

Germs are all around us – both in our environment and inside us. When disease-causing germs/micro-organisms enter our body, it leads to sickness and in some cases even death. This is the time when the body creates its defense with the immune system which leads to the formation of antibodies. These antibodies are the soldiers in your defense system that are produced in response to viruses’ antigens which are an important part of the immune system.

Once the antigen-specific antibodies are formed, they work with the rest of the immune system to kill the virus and stop the disease. When the body is exposed to the same virus more than once, the antibody reaction is much stronger and more effective than the first time so the memory cells can pump antibodies against the virus and can fight it.

Once you get a hang of it, it is easier to understand how the COVID-19 vaccine works. These vaccines contain the weakened parts of the antigen that triggers the immune system to act up and form antibodies. Now, newer vaccines contain the blueprint of antigen, rather than the antigen itself. Regardless of it, when it is injected into a person, it doesn’t make the person sick, but it triggers the immune system to produce antibodies and fight against these antigens when the person comes in contact with it. In this way, the body is prepared to defend and fight a particular disease-causing virus in the future. When someone is vaccinated, they are protected against the virus. However, there are a few exceptions to it. For example, people who are immunodeficient i. e. people who are suffering from HIV or Cancer cannot be vaccinated.

Vaccines not only protect you but also people who can’t get vaccinated by achieving herd immunity where a maximum number of people get vaccinated to eradicate the virus.

How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are needed?

Many COVID-19 vaccines are being developed and authorized in many countries. Each of these vaccines requires a different number of shots for it to be effective. The two authorized and recommended vaccines require two shots at an interval; while the one in the trial phase in the US requires one just shot of vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

However, in India, vaccine trials are under different stages of finalization. However, vaccination for COVID-19 in India is voluntary. It will only be provided to the priority group i. e. the healthcare workers and frontline workers. In India, two doses of vaccines are required, 28 days apart to complete the vaccination schedule.

For vaccines like Moderna and AstraZeneca two doses are given at an interval of 4 weeks. For Pfizer, those two doses are given 3 weeks apart.

Benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines

To prevent coronavirus diseases, vaccines are the best hope for 2019. With scientists coming up with vaccines with the highest measure of accuracy and countries approving the same, we are getting closer to making this world a better place! The experts continue to study the effects of COVID-19 vaccines to date and they have derived a few benefits of the same. COVID-19 vaccines are not 100% effective yet. Hence numerous dry runs are conducted before distributing it officially in any country. However, we are getting there and there are still many benefits recorded when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19 with effective vaccination.

                    
These benefits are as follows:

  • COVID vaccines help you create an anti-body response without having to become sick with COVID-19
  • It keeps you from getting COVID-19.
  • Even if you get COVID-19, it prevents you from becoming seriously ill or developing serious complications.
  • Getting COVID-19 might also help people around you to be safe from the disease. Since it is a contagious disease, COVID-19 vaccination help people – especially the ones who are at a high risk of getting infected from severe illness.

The above mentioned is the information on COVID-19, its working, doses, and benefits. While the world is getting prepped up for the most effective vaccine, till then everyone needs to hang in there and be patient. Let’s not forget that basic sanitization, social distancing, wearing masks is still paramount and is equally effective in bringing a healthy change till everybody is vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccine brings the promise of a global rescue from the coronavirus but the myths and misinformation are bubbling on social media and other platforms that could be dangerous. Hence in this article, we will burst all the myths around the COVID-19 vaccine and help you with the facts.

Myth 1: Due to their rapid development, the COVID – 19 vaccines are not as safe as all safety protocols have not been followed/ COVID-19 vaccines are not being tested against a placebo in clinical trials.

Fact: The vaccines are proven safe and effective in well-conducted clinical trials. All COVID-19 vaccines have undergone the same stringent regulatory approval procedures as every other vaccine needs to, meeting all safety standards, despite been developed in the best time, without skipping any testing step. Contradicting the prevailing doubts, we should be thankful to the exceptional global alliance of experts in the field and the giant pharmaceutical corporations for their involvement, due to which, the vaccines have been developed for human use in such a short timeframe. Also, the clinical trials and regulatory review of safety, have consumed nearly the same time as any other vaccine.

Phase 3 trials are the final phase of clinical testing for any investigational drug/vaccine, in which the drug/vaccine is tested in thousands of patients. In this phase of clinical trials, Researchers compare how many patients become infected with the attacking micro-organism (here, the COVID-19 virus) versus the patients who receive a dummy, to conclude the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. As of current knowledge from the WHO, all the COVID-19 vaccine candidates have either completed or are currently under Phase 3 trial investigation.

Myth 2: The mRNA vaccine class developed for COVID-19 prevention will change human DNA

Fact: Several candidates for the COVID-19 vaccine depend on the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), which transports genetic information required to synthesize proteins in a human body. These vaccines would initiate cells to make proteins that look like COVID-19 virus parts, activating the human body’s immune system to produce antibodies against these virus parts. So, in the future, if an actual virus tries to invade these vaccinated individuals, the virus would be neutralized through an immune response.

Despite mRNA vaccines being novel products, they are not capable to change human DNA and alter genetic makeup in individuals receiving them. This RNA resides in the human cells for a very brief duration of a couple of hours, where they just provide instructions for producing a new protein and nothing else.

Myth 3: The COVID-19 vaccine will use surveillance technology to track patient’s movements

Fact: There is no knowledge of any vaccine for COVID-19 or any other infection equipped with a microchip or other surveillance sorts. This myth spread when in December 2019, researchers belonging to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who had received capital from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, published their research on a technology where an ink-like injection that they had developed, was able to keep a record of vaccines on the skin of the patient, which could be read through a smartphone application. However, the technology is incapable to track patients’ movements. Though Bill Gates had mentioned that “digital certification” could be helpful in a larger vaccination effort, there is no report that any company/institute has invented such a technology to track COVID vaccine recipients.

Myth 4: The COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility in 97 percent of its recipients, both men, and women.

Fact: This myth looks to have initiated from an online media platform, where an individual claimed that his unnamed source, working at a multinational pharmaceutical corporation told him that 61/63 women tested with an investigational COVID-19 vaccine developed infertility whereas a separate, male-specific vaccine caused a decreased testicular size, drop of testosterone levels, and marked atrophy of the prostate in males.

As reported by a news corporation, these alleged effects of COVID-19 vaccines look to have been taken exactly as it is, from an unrelated 1989 study from the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, India where the researchers tested the application of an anti-fertility vaccine on baboons as a future treatment option for human cancer patients, whose tumors are affected by fertility hormones. None of the current COVID-19 vaccine candidates are gender-specific or are related to fertility in any way.

A second myth that added fuel to the fire was a supposed claim by the head of research at Pfizer which mentioned that the COVID-19 vaccine contains a protein called syncytin-1 that will result in female sterilization. This claim was based on a plea to the European Medicines Agency from a doctor named Michael Yeadon, seemingly the above-mentioned head of Pfizer research. Yeadon had left Pfizer early in 2011, as per investigative reports. The petition guessed that the vaccine may produce an immune reaction against a protein that is vital for placental formation during pregnancy. However, the vaccine is devoid of syncytin-1 and also, no evidence connects the COVID-19 vaccine to issues of infertility.

On the contrary, there is no evidence that COVID-19 viral spike protein (A target for the vaccine) will lead to an immune reaction against syncytin-1. Pfizer officials have also publically announced that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine had not been found to cause infertility.

Myth 5: Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine will turn people into monkeys.

Fact: This fabricated claim is based on the fact that Oxford and AstraZeneca’s vaccine depends on an altered chimpanzee adenovirus proposed to trigger an immune response against the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2. As per media reports, such false claims are being spread through social media platforms as a part of a disinformation campaign.

Myth 6: The U.K. regulators will use artificial intelligence to observe the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, as they know about these vaccines being extremely dangerous.

Fact: Though MHRA has given a contract to Genpact to make an artificial intelligence apparatus for monitoring adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines, the officials have stated that this is not due to foresight of hazards posed by vaccines. Besides, an adverse event report does not demonstrate that the adverse event was caused solely due to the vaccine.

The regulators also stated that based on available published clinical trials, they do not expect any particular safety concern with COVID-19 vaccines, as of now. They believe that the COVID-19 vaccines’ general safety profile to be comparable to other vaccine types. A COVID-19 vaccine will only be introduced when its safety and effectiveness is proven through strong clinical trial data.

Myth 7: A document on the FDA website shows that two participants died as a result of “serious adverse events” from an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

Fact: There were two deaths among the 21,000 people in the trial who received Pfizer and BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not attribute those deaths to the vaccine.

According to a December 2020 FDA document describing the circumstances of the deaths, “one experienced a cardiac arrest 62 days after vaccination #2 and died 3 days later, and the other died from arteriosclerosis 3 days after vaccination #1.” The document also said in the case of the second death, the participant had “baseline obesity and pre-existing atherosclerosis,” or a narrowing of the arteries.

There were also four deaths reported among the 21,000 trial participants who received a placebo. The deaths “represent events that occur in the general population of the age groups where they occurred, at a similar rate,” according to the FDA document.

To determine the safety of the vaccine, the trial recorded what are called “serious adverse events,” defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as any medical event that results in death, hospitalization, or interferes substantially with normal life functions. The FDA document said among the serious events reported in the Pfizer/BioNTech trial, it considered only two as possibly related to the vaccine: a shoulder injury and swollen lymph nodes, a common and typically benign condition.

Myth 8: The virus mutates so fast that a vaccine will never work.

Fact: Available evidence suggests that the COVID-19 virus is genetically stable and mutates slowly. For example, scientists say that the COVID-19 virus mutates twice as slowly as does the seasonal flu virus, which requires a new vaccine every year.

Experts say that COVID-19’s relatively slow rate of mutation suggests that at least for the short term, a vaccine would be effective. Trevor Bedford, an infectious-disease expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, told Business Insider in November 2020: “It will take the virus a few years to mutate enough to significantly hinder a vaccine.”

Myth 9: An individual who already have got the infection once, don’t need to receive the vaccine

Fact: As per evidence, even if you already have suffered from COVID-19 viral infection once, you can still gain from the vaccine. As of now, how long someone will stay protected from getting infected again after recovering from COVID-19 is not known. Natural immunity which an individual develops after getting an infection differs for each person. Some early reports have suggested that this natural immunity may not last for a prolonged duration.

Myth 10: The COVID-19 vaccine has severe side effects such as allergic reactions.

Fact: Though, some vaccine clinical trial participants did develop side effects, they were comparable to those observed with other vaccines, and included minor complaints such as muscle pain, chills, and headache. However, despite being extremely rare, people can develop severe allergies to constituents used in preparing a vaccine. That is why it is recommended that people who have a history of severe allergies to such constituents of the vaccine should not receive the vaccination.

Myth 11: I no longer need to wear a mask after I receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fact: Until an ample number of people develop immunity after receiving the vaccine, wearing face masks, frequent hand washing and social/physical distancing continue to remain essential for our lives. These measures are the paramount protective gears we can offer to each one of us, at this moment, and continue following current guidelines for COVID-19 prevention. As sufficient people receive the vaccines and a better idea of the duration of natural and vaccine immunity is gained, we need to follow our pandemic behavioral pattern.

Myth 12: You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Fact: As the vaccine doesn’t contain the live virus, you cannot contract COVID-19 infection and its symptoms after receiving the vaccine.

Myth 13: I will test positive for COVID-19 as soon as I receive the vaccine.

Fact: Viral tests used to diagnose COVID-19 check samples from the patient’s respiratory tract to check the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. As the vaccine does not contain the live virus, their administration won’t affect your test result. It is possible that you can get infected with the virus in the period before the vaccine becomes efficient to protect your body against the infection.

Myth 14: I don’t need the vaccine, because I am not at risk for developing severe complications of COVID-19.

Fact: You can still contract the infection and spread it to others, irrespective of your risk of complications, so it is vital for each individual to get vaccinated. It is recommended that the vaccine reaches the maximum possible number of adults, once it is widely available. It is not only for the protection of a single individual but for entire families and the community at large.