The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a vaccine developed to prevent COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. It was authorized for emergency use by the FDA on December 11th, 2020. It has been authorized for use on all patients aged 16 or older. It is administered in two doses, given three weeks apart from each other, and has been shown to be very safe in clinical trials.
- How does the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine work?
- Is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine safe?
- What are the side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
- Who can get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
- What is the difference between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines?
- Are there any interactions with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
- Does the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 stop the spread of COVID-19?
- How effective is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
1. How does the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine work?
Like other vaccines, the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize a piece of the novel coronavirus, and then fight off the real thing. However, unlike other vaccines, which often contain parts of a virus or a weakened version of it, this vaccine contains messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA is the genetic material that instructs cells to create certain proteins inside the body. This mRNA vaccine teaches the body’s cells how to make a protein like one of the proteins found in the novel coronavirus. This protein, known as the spike protein, is harmless on its own. The body then develops antibodies against the protein and can use these same antibodies to fight the novel coronavirus if the real virus ever enters the body.
This mRNA technology is responsible for the speedy development of the vaccine, as traditional vaccines must pass far more hurdles since they use actual viral proteins.
2. Is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been shown in both manufacturer and clinical trials to be safe and effective. The vaccine has met all the safety and effectiveness standards of the FDA. Furthermore, the potential benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the potential risks of developing COVID-19.
The vaccine is also subject to safety monitoring systems such as the CDC safety surveillance programs and Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). These systems ensure that adverse events are monitored and recorded. In the event of unexpected negative side effects, experts will quickly evaluate and determine if there is a true safety concern.
Based on all currently available information, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is considered to be very safe.
3. What are the side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
Just like any other vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine produces a range of possible side effects. The list below includes some of the most common side effects but is not a complete list. Mild side effects typically subside after a few days, if they do not subside you should consult your doctor.
Common side effects:
- In the arm near or at the injection site:
- Throughout the body:
o Flu-like symptoms
In some rare cases, patients can experience allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms after receiving the vaccine.
- Skin rash
- Tightness in the throat or chest
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
4. Who can get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for anyone above the age of sixteen. When it comes to the roll-out of the vaccine and when you will be eligible for vaccination, it will depend greatly on your location and local regulations regarding vaccine distribution. However, generally, vaccines will be administered to higher-risk people first. In the case of COVID-19, this includes those with existing conditions and elderly people.
5. What is the difference between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines?
The Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are very similar and the Pfizer vaccine is only ever so slightly more effective. However, there are still a few key differences. The most important of the differences perhaps is that the Moderna vaccine can be stored in typical freezers and does not require a super-cold transport network like the Pfizer vaccine. This means that for smaller facilities and local communities, the Moderna vaccine may be more accessible. The other key difference involves the dosages of the vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine comes in two 30mg doses, taken three weeks apart, and the Moderna vaccine is two 100mg doses, taken four weeks apart.
6. Are there any interactions with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
At this time, there are no known interactions with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is not recommended that you receive any other vaccinations within a week of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
7. Does the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 stop the spread of COVID-19?
Most vaccines produced to prevent viral diseases also help in reducing the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, it is not currently known if the COVID-19 vaccine will reduce transmission. Therefore, even if you have received the vaccine, you should take precautions to avoid spreading the disease as much as possible, such as wearing a mask and maintaining social distance, at least until more is known about the impact of vaccination on transmission.
8. How effective is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
Based on clinical trials, the current evidence suggests that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective in preventing the coronavirus.
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