The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended the use of the Pzifer BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 for children between the ages of 5 and 11. There are already 16 million doses of the pediatric vaccine available, and another number in production, to be distributed to states that request them.
The green light came after the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee voted 17-0 (with one abstention) in favor of approval. With the immunization of millions of children, it could further entrench all the variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, generating a stronger herd immunization that could eventually lead to the end of the pandemic situation.
Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must give the final go-ahead.
The next step could be for school systems across the country to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory to go to school, as are the vaccines that are part of the childhood vaccination schedule. This point has already begun to generate controversy among members of the scientific and educational community.
With this new immunization window, about 28 million children could be vaccinated with a dose of Pfizer’s vaccine attenuated, that is, lower than that of adults. The administration said it will distribute the doses.
Although the coronavirus impacted children less, the number of children with COVID, even hospitalized, has increased dramatically, with more than 1.1 million cases at the end of October. Many children have also had complex inflammatory syndromes, explained Dr. Amanda Cohn of the CDC’s division of vaccines.
In late September, Pfizer released preliminary results of its clinical trials with the children’s version of the COVID vaccine. For these trials they used, a regimen of two 10 microgram doses of the vaccine administered 21 days apart was tested.
The pharmaceutical company said that the vaccine has shown a 90.7% effectiveness in preventing the development of COVID in this population.
12 Answers About COVID Vaccines
Vaccination is still the least way to “corner” the virus so that it does not continue to infect. The more people vaccinated, the more likely it is that a “herd” or “herd” immunity will form, a kind of barrier of human immune systems that weakens the virus.
The following are 12 powerful responses to COVID vaccination questions, collected from reliable scientific sources, explaining why getting vaccinated as soon as possible is essential. And sure.
1. What is the benefit of getting vaccinated against COVID?
Available vaccines against COVID protect up to 95% from contracting the coronavirus and developing COVID-19.
The information available to date, the product of scientific research, shows that if the person is vaccinated and is infected anyway, the vaccine will protect them from developing a serious form of the disease, and from having to be hospitalized.
2. How does the COVID vaccine work in the body?
The goal of the vaccine is to teach the immune system to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.
The vaccine contains substances that work by neutralizing the action of a protein that helps the coronavirus infect the human body. In addition, when immunized, the body is left with a supply of T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.
3. Do the vaccines for COVID contain the live virus that causes the disease? Can they give me COVID?
None of the vaccines, both those that are already being applied and those that are still in experimentation, contain live forms of the coronavirus. And they cannot infect with the coronavirus, either.
4. Are COVID vaccines all the same? If I want to get vaccinated, how do I choose which one to use?
Currently, there are three main types of COVID-19 vaccines. They are as follows:
MRNA vaccines. These vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19. This material “teaches” cells how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. Once the cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material in the vaccine.
If the virus is contacted, the body will recognize that the protein should not be there and will produce T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. That is, they will prevent infection
Protein subunit vaccines. These vaccines contain harmless parts (proteins) of the virus that causes COVID-19, but they do not contain all of the germ.
When vaccinated, a person’s immune system recognizes that proteins do not belong in the body and begins to produce T lymphocytes and antibodies. If in the future the person becomes infected, the cells, which memorized this protein, will recognize it and fight against the virus.
Vector vaccines. These vaccines contain a weakened version of a live virus, other than the one that causes COVID-19, that has genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19 inserted into it (this is called a viral vector).
Once the viral vector is inside the cells, the genetic material “instructs” the cells to produce a protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Using these instructions, cells make copies of the protein. This prompts the body to produce T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus if the person becomes infected in the future.
Your primary care physician, or your local health department, can explain more about vaccinations.
5. Can these vaccines cause side effects?
Vaccines can cause side effects like arm pain and some fever. But this means that they have in fact started to act in the body. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is developing immunity.
A few cases of allergic reactions have been recorded, in people with a medical history of allergies or asthma. For this reason, for example in the United States, the procedure is to vaccinate the person and have the person stay half an hour at the vaccination site to monitor any unusual reactions.
But again, these have been a few isolated cases. And it is common for them to be registered when the vaccine begins to be given to many more people than those who participate in a clinical trial.
6. How long does it take for the body to be protected against COVID?
It usually takes at least two weeks for the body to produce T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes after vaccination, to produce immunity.
Therefore, it is possible for a person to become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then become ill because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.
What is known from experience with other vaccines is that if a vaccinated person becomes infected, they will likely have a mild form of the disease.
7. Why are two doses of the COVID vaccine needed?
All COVID vaccines (except Johnson & Johnson’s) need two doses to build immunity.
The first puncture begins to build protection. A second dose is needed a few weeks later to get the best protection the vaccine can offer.
This is not unique to the COVID-19 vaccine. Many vaccines on the routine vaccination schedule require two to three doses to build long-term immunity, for example the DTaP vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, or the pneumococcal vaccine.
8. How long does the immunity generated by the vaccine last?
Developing COVID-19 can offer some natural protection, known as immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is rare within 90 days of initial infection.
However, experts are uncertain how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefit from natural immunity.
The COVID-19 vaccine helps protect by creating an antibody response (immune system) without having to experience illness.
Both natural immunity and the immunity produced by a vaccine are important parts of COVID-19 that experts are learning more about every day.
One of the things to figure out is whether the COVID vaccine will provide long-term immunity or will it end up being seasonal, such as the flu or influenza vaccine.
9. If I wear a mask, why do I have to get vaccinated?
The use of masks and physical distancing help reduce the possibility of being exposed to the virus or transmitting it to others, but these measures are not enough.
Vaccines teach the body that the immune system is ready to fight the virus if it is exposed.
The combination of vaccines and basic sanitary measures, wearing a mask, respecting distance and washing hands, among others, will continue to offer protection against COVID-19, as long as the pandemic is not declared over.
10. What precautions should I take into account before and after getting vaccinated?
Specialists indicate that it is important to sleep well and hydrate properly before being vaccinated, so that the body receives the dose in the best way.
Regarding exercise, there is not enough evidence to outright contraindicate it before or after receiving the vaccine, even if you do not suffer any side effects, there should be no problem in doing physical activity.
However, the recommendation of the experts is not to make great physical efforts both before and after being vaccinated (around 12 hours).
Nor should a negative immune response be stimulated, for example, through body modifications (such as tattoos or piercings), or by taking over-the-counter medications.
11. Should I get the booster shot?
It all depends on your state of health, if you work in a risky environment such as a hospital or an assisted living home, or if you have a pre-existing condition or a disease that affects your immune system, or if you live with someone in this medical situation. If you are not sure if your disorder affects your body’s defense system, talk to your doctor, who will advise you on the best step to take, and if a booster dose would benefit you.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a new virus, which scientists are closely monitoring, investigating its variants, and developing therapeutic and immunization responses. One of the big questions is changes in the genetics of the virus that will make the COVID-19 vaccine seasonal, like the flu. As these are ongoing investigations, as new information emerges, the course of action is decided.
So far, studies show that after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus may decrease over time and be less effective in protecting against the delta variant. Evidence also shows that among healthcare workers and other front-line workers, the effectiveness of the vaccine decreases over time. This decrease in effectiveness probably has to do with the appearance of new variants, such as delta and mu.
That is precisely why the vaccine booster is important: to “remind” the immune system that there is an enemy to which it has to react.
12. Why getting vaccinated is a social duty
Getting vaccinated is one of the many steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. This protection against COVID-19 is vitally important because for some people they suffer a serious illness from COVID, or die.
To stop a pandemic, it is necessary to use all available tools.
Mass vaccination generates what is called herd immunity: the equation is simple, the more people vaccinated, the greater the protection against the virus.
Vaccination protects the vaccinated, protects others, and makes the circulation of the virus weakened, because it stops finding organisms to infect.
This is the way to end the pandemic.