Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe? That is the question everyone is asking right now. As a concerned citizen, your brain must be asking the same question right now. The announcement of the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine spread a wave of joy and relief in the masses. However, there are a few questions that still need to be answered before we move forward with this vaccine:
- Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for use?
- Are there any unpleasant side-effects of this vaccine?
- What are the restrictions or precautions for this COVID-19 vaccine?
- Who should not use this vaccine?
- What does the coronavirus vaccine guarantee?
These are a handful of questions that have risen across the globe. Common people, doctors, healthcare students, and other parties are constantly seeking answers to these questions. Here is a brief overview of the COVID-19 vaccine and what it brings to the table.
How Was The COVID-19 Vaccine Developed within A Year?
Let’s start at the source. The process of vaccine creation requires patience and takes time. It takes a few years to create a vaccine for any disease. However, vaccine developers created the COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year. So, some people wonder whether or not the right safety measures were taken while preparing this vaccine. There are various reasons why vaccine developers created the COVID-19 vaccine within a year. Let’s explore these in detail.
Pfizer/BioNTech Was Already Working on A Similar Vaccine
Some people think that health companies developed the COVID-19 vaccine specifically for coronavirus. However, that’s not true. Pfizer/BioNTech, the company that created the COVID-19 vaccine, has been in the process of developing a vaccine for several infections viruses for a few years now. The COVID-19 vaccine is a loose variation of this vaccine. Therefore, the development process had been in the pipeline for a while now. It was only refined and adjusted according to the specific traits of the COVID-19.
The Existence of Abundant Genetic Information
Coronavirus is not a new virus. Some people believe that coronavirus is a new virus and began in 2019. However, coronavirus is only an accelerated form of SARS–COV–2. Therefore, China already had a database of genetic information regarding this family of infectious viruses. It further eliminated the need for conducting experiments for collecting information regarding this virus. The scientist had an early start with this genetic information, and they kept on collecting more data and information from patients all over the world.
Simultaneous Testing Process
Authorities that developed the COVID-19 vaccine did not skip any testing processes that are generally associated with creating and testing vaccines. However, the only difference was that vaccine developers conducted several testing processes simultaneously to speed up the development process. In addition to this, modern technologies also allowed for a seamless collection of new information and genetic data from different patients. This also sped up the process of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Governments Offered Sufficient Funds
One of the major issues with developing vaccines is the lack of sufficient funds. Since the entire world suffered from COVID-19, governments came together and offered as much money to vaccine developers as required. This accelerated the process of vaccine creation, and scientists quickly developed the COVID-19 vaccine within a single year.
The Use of mRNA Technology
Vaccine developers also made use of the modern messenger RNA technology (mRNA). It was designed to speed up the process of genetic information collection and vaccine creation. It helped part ways with the traditional approaches towards vaccine creation, and scientists quickly developed the vaccine for the COVID-19.
Thousands of Volunteers
Thousands of people volunteered from all over the world to help scientists collect as much data as required to tackle the COVID-19. Research participants also volunteered for experiments for early vaccines. This allowed scientists to quickly create a database containing the relevant information required for vaccine creation. Therefore, no steps were skipped during the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Operation Warp Speed
Operation Warp Speed also accelerated the development process for the COVID-19 vaccine. Operation Warp Speeddictated the development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines rather than focusing the resources on a single vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked alongside health departments and vaccine developers throughout the development process.
Operation Warp Speed promoted a positive partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense. This collaboration oversaw the development and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine without sacrificing safety and integrity. This operation served as a key player in the accelerated development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Millions of Patients
Vaccine developers did not have to wait for new patients as this virus was widespread and quickly transferred from one person to another. There were millions of patients all over the world. It allowed for a quick collection and observation of the underlying symptoms of this infection. This eliminated any wait-time associated with information collection, and vaccine developers quickly came up with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccine developers and medical companies all over the world started developing the vaccine before the authorization came through. They did not want to wait until the authorization process was finalized. This allowed them to get a jump start on creating the COVID-19 vaccine.
How Safe is the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Every time a new vaccine enters the market, the U.S. Vaccine Safety System is there to ensure that it is safe for distribution. The U.S. vaccine safety system also worked alongside vaccine developers to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine was safe from the beginning. Federal agencies were involved with the COVID-19 vaccine creation process from the very beginning.
This ensured that medical companies took all the necessary steps to make the COVID-19 vaccine as safe as possible. All the stages were thoroughly monitored and reviewed by the U.S. Vaccine Safety System, and vaccine developers took the necessary steps to guarantee the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Four Phases of Vaccine Testing
There are clinical trials for measuring the safety and effectiveness of a new vaccine. The U.S. Vaccine Safety System worked alongside vaccine developers to implement careful testing procedures at every step of the way. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) played a primary role in setting up effective standards for vaccine developers throughout the ongoing pandemic.
There are four phases that a vaccine must go through as stated by the National Institutes of Health. The COVID-19 vaccine went through all four phases and met the necessary standards before hitting the shelves.
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
The COVID-19 vaccine was made available to the public via Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Only the FDA has the authority to allow a vaccine for emergency use. However, a vaccine must go through all the necessary testing and trial procedures before being made available for emergency use. This further ensures that the FDA was involved with the vaccine development process and allowed for emergency use after rigorously testing its effectiveness and safety through clinical trials.
Continuous Observation for Side-Effects
Whenever a new vaccine is developed, one of the most important elements is continuously monitoring the vaccine for any harmful side effects. The COVID-19 vaccine also had a thorough monitoring process where the patients involved with clinical trials were kept under observation for any problems or side effects.
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) participated in the vaccine monitoring program for the COVID-19 vaccine. All the patients involved with clinical trials were observed for months before the vaccine was made available to the public. Moreover, the patients are still under observation, and federal agencies are continuously monitoring their vital and health for any side effects.
Are There Any Reported Side-Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Yes, there have been some reported side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. All the reported-effects range from low-level effects to mild. The side-effects for the COVID-19 vaccine are:
- Pain at The Injection Site
- Muscle Aches
- Mild Rashes
You should know that only two people had severe allergies during the trials for the COVID-19 vaccine. However, both are recovering well, and there have been no reports regarding any severe allergy reactions so far. So, the coronavirus vaccine trials were proven to be safe for more than 99% of the participants.
How Many COVID-19 Vaccines Are There?
There are currently four COVID-19 vaccines that have completed the trials. These were developed by:
- Oxford Uni-AstraZeneca
Oxford Uni-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine
The Oxford Uni-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine utilizes the viral vector approach that relies on using a genetically modified virus. This genetically modified virus fights against the harmful infectious viruses in the body and eliminates them with an effectiveness of 62% to 90%. The patients will require two individual doses of this COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, it can be stored at regular fridge temperature without sacrificing the effectiveness of this COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine utilizes the RNA approach in the development approach. This COVID-19 vaccine contains parts of the virus’s genetic code. The vaccine was created after understanding the genetic code of the underlying coronavirus and modifying the useful elements. The patients will have to get two individual doses for this vaccine to work. It offers effectiveness of 95%, according to the trials. It can be kept safe at a temperature of -20C for six months.
Gamaleya COVID-19 Vaccine
The Gamaleya COVID-19 vaccine utilizes the viral vector approach for the development process. The patients will have to get two individual doses for the vaccine to work and fight against COVID-19. This vaccine comes with an effectiveness of up to 92%, and it can be kept safe at regular fridge temperature.
Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Lastly, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine relies on the use of RNA methodology for the development process. In addition to this, the scientist at Pfizer/BioNTech also took help from the mRNA technology to create this coronavirus vaccine. It offers 95% effectiveness. However, it has to be kept at a temperature of -70C to maintain its high effectiveness level.
What Is The mRNA Technology Used in The Development of The COVID-19 Vaccine?
As discussed above, the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology played a vital role in the quick development of the COVID-19 vaccine. The first two companies that developed the COVID-19 vaccine utilized the modern messenger RNA technology for the quick development process. What exactly is this messenger RNA technology? Is it safe? How does it help with the development process?
The messenger RNA technology has been in the pipeline for a few years now. This technology’s core purpose was to help speed up the vaccine development process for different infectious viruses. Therefore, scientists were trying to develop a method that would help reduce the time associated with vaccine development. Suffice to say; it worked well.
Vaccines work primarily by sending a message to the body containing the virus’s genetic code. When the body receives this genetic code, it starts looking out for the specific virus and treats it as a hostile entity. Therefore, such vaccines only help the body understand what to destroy, and our immune system automatically destroys the virus from the inside.
Scientists also use dead or weakened versions of the specific virus to create a genetic code for the body. The body understands this genetic code and slowly develops immunity against this virus. However, this process takes years. It takes time to extract and recreate the genetic information from the virus and turn it into a guideline for the body. This is why the messenger RNA technology was invented to help speed up the process of vaccine creation. This technology quickly recreates and distributes the genetic code information in the body.
Some viruses, like the coronavirus, come with an accelerated form of deterioration and multiplication. This means that when these viruses enter the body, their only purpose is to produce copies of themselves. These copies contain the same genetic code as the parent virus and quickly invade other cells in the body. This is why we observed a huge outburst and widespread of the coronavirus among patients. Their health quickly deteriorated, and the virus quickly spread from one person to the next.
This is where the messenger RNA technology jumps in and saves the day by forcing the body to only copy and produce one part of the COVID-19: the spike proteins on the virus’s outer surface. When the body starts copying only one part of the coronavirus, it helps stop this virus’s spread. Still, this copied outer surface can make people sick.
The brand new messenger RNA technology has specific instructions for stopping the copying procedure for the entire virus. Therefore, the body only copies the outer shell, the spike protein, of coronavirus. Additionally, the messenger RNA technology is a synthetically made process. So, it does not take any information from the virus directly.
When the coronavirus virus tries to copy itself inside the body, this mRNA technology instructs the body only to allow the copying of the spike protein. Once these spike proteins are produced, the body quickly identifies them as hostile and destroys them. The body starts making antibodies to quickly detect and react to these spike proteins in the future.
This way, the COVID-19 vaccine teaches the body to understand how to stop the COVID-19 from copying itself and prepares it for any future attacks. The worst that people will feel is mild sickness due to the spike proteins.
Is It Possible to Get Coronavirus from The COVID-19 Vaccine?
This could have been an issue if the vaccine developers had used the traditional approach to create the COVID-19 vaccine. The traditional approaches relied on the use of dead or weakened forms of viruses to create and distribute the genetic code information in the body. This way, scientists would have had to introduce the COVID-19 virus into the body to create antibodies against it.
Since vaccine developers utilized the modern mRNA technology to create the COVID-19 vaccine, there is no fear of getting COVID-19 from the vaccine. This is because mRNA technology does not take the genetic code directly from the virus itself. Instead, it teaches the body how to stop the virus’s copying process and understand its genetic code from within.
So, no form of COVID-19 is used in the development process of the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The worst you will feel is mild sickness and headaches.
What Is The Bottom Line Here?
The introduction of coronavirus into our lives disrupted the entire world. This virus impacted billions and took the lives of more than 1.6 million people. The need for a COVID-19 vaccine was higher than ever. This is when health institutes worldwide came together and started the development process for the coronavirus vaccine.
Multiple institutes started simultaneous experiments and vaccine development processes. This helped accelerate the development process for the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to this, governments also did their part by offering sufficient funds for the development process. It all helped with the creation of four different COVID-19 vaccines around the globe. The mRNA technology also sped up the vaccine development process by years and eliminated the need for using the actual virus itself for the development process.
According to the trials conducted so far, these COVID-19 vaccines are safe to use and only offer mild side-effects such as fever, headaches, and mild rashes. These are safe to use and will help us defeat coronavirus for once and all.