Faqs On Covid-19 Vaccines
Dr. Reepa Agrawal
DCH (Pediatrics)
First Created: 01/27/2021  Last Updated: 01/27/2021

Patient Education

Q1. How come the vaccines against COVID-19 were manufactured so rapidly, I mean were they tested properly?

Yes, our scientists have worked day and night in this pandemic to develop a vaccine in record time and we should be grateful to them. With the advances in vaccine development technology, adequate funding by governments and the tremendous efforts of our scientists we are able to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

One should not bear any doubts regarding this vaccine development as prior to getting authorization for use in general public, vaccines undergo clinical trials.

Although there are around 250 vaccines in trial phase, only few have been given authorization depending on the robust data generated out of these clinical trials.

Q2. What is a good quality vaccine?

A vaccine which is safe, efficacious and gives long-lasting immunity.

Q3. What does emergency use authorization of vaccines mean?

In public health emergencies, drugs approval and regulatory bodies may give swift approval to vaccines or drugs to save lives by critically analyzing that benefits outweigh risks.

Q4. How many vaccines have got emergency use authorization(EUA)?

In different parts of the world, few vaccines namely Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Moderna Vaccine, Sputnik V vaccine, Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine, Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute Of India), Covaxin ( manufactured by Bharat Biotech, India is currently in clinical trial mode ) have got EUA from the respective countries drug approval and regulatory authorities.

Q5. What is the age group of people authorized for emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine globally?

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for those aged 16 years and above. Moderna vaccine, Covishield, Covaxin (India), Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are not authorized below 18 years of age.

Q6. Are kids (with or without vulnerable clinical conditions) in the priority list for any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use so far globally?

No.

Q7. Are the COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech/Moderna/Covishield/Oxford AstraZeneca) safe and effective in kids?

Not known.

Q8. Are kids not affected by COVID-19?

Yes absolutely and therefore kids need to be protected against COVID-19 too.

Q9. Then why are kids not being given the vaccines?

Well the scientific data based on which Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford AstraZeneca, Covishield, Covaxin COVID-19 vaccines were given emergency use authorization did not include children hence data for safety and efficacy of the same in kids is currently lacking and so at present kids are not being given the COVID-19 vaccines.

However, Pfizer has started enrolling kids of 12 years and above in its clinical trial in October 2020, and recently Moderna has also announced that it would be enrolling 12-17 year olds. Hence, unless there is robust data available from bridging clinical trials kids vaccination against COVID-19 will not begin.

Q10. How to protect kids then?

Hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing of masks correctly (if above 5 years of age) when outside is the most important preventive measures one can take to prevent COVID-19.

Q11. Can the vaccine cause COVID-19 infection?

None of the vaccines with EUA contain live virus, hence cannot cause COVID-19 infection.

Q12. How do these vaccines work?

Different vaccines have different mechanisms of action which finally lead to stimulation of our immune system to produce antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Moderna Vaccine) are the new technology vaccines which contain mRNA molecules which once injected in the body , make spike proteins ( proteins present on surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus which attaches to human cells)-which stimulate protective antibody response.

Vector viral vaccines (Sputnik V vaccine, Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine, Covishield) contain non multiplying harmless viruses used as a vehicle to transport part genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 which once injected in the body will enable to produce spike protein which will stimulate protective antibody response against SARS-CoV-2. Sputnik V has a type of harmless human adenovirus as vector whereas Oxford Astra-Zeneca /Covishield vaccines contain a type of harmless chimpanzee adenovirus as the vehicle virus. Adenovirus are a type of viruses which also causes common cold.

Whole cell inactivated vaccine(Covaxin) are traditional vaccines which contain inactivated viruses.

Q13. Will these vaccines affect genetic material?

No, none of the above mentioned vaccines will affect human body genetic material o DNA as this is stored in a part called nucleus of cells where the above-mentioned vaccine contents don’t enter.

Q14. Do these vaccines contain a chip which will then track all my activities?

No, definitely not.

Q15. Are these vaccines safe?

Yes, the clinical trials data in public domain do mention that these vaccines are safe for individuals above 18 years of age whereas Pfizer vaccine can be used safely above 16 years of age.

Q16. What are the side effects of these vaccines?

The clinical trials till now have shown minor side effects like fever, myalgia, headache etc. with most of the vaccines, however, serious allergic reactions have also occurred in a few vaccine recipients who had a history of allergies.

Q17. Who should avoid these vaccines?

All the vaccines need to be avoided by individuals with a history of allergy or anaphylaxis against any of the vaccine components. For individual vaccines, manufactures have laid down a list of conditions if any where the vaccine should be avoided.

Q18. How effective are these vaccines?

Table 1. COVID-19 Vaccines Efficacy

  Moderna Pfizer-BioNTech Sputnik V Oxford-AstraZeneca/ Covishield Covaxin
Efficacy 94.5% 95% 91.4% 73% Ongoing Ph3 Clin Trial
Type of vaccine mRNA mRNA viral vector viral vector inactivated virus

Q19. Who will get the vaccine first?

Different countries have prepared their priority list for vaccination.

Q20. Can pregnant women take the vaccine?

Clinical trials did not include pregnant/ lactating women. Therefore, it is not recommended for pregnant women to take the vaccine in the present circumstance.

Q21. How many doses are needed?

Most of them require 2 doses 4 weeks apart except Pfizer vaccine which requires 2 doses 3 weeks apart.

Q22. I had Covid 19 infection before, should I take the vaccine?

Current recommendation is to take vaccine irrespective of past infection as its not known how long the natural immunity will last.

Q23. Should I check my antibody levels against COVID 19 prior to vaccination?

Current recommendation is to take a vaccine irrespective of antibody as its not known how long the natural immunity will last.

Q24. How long does it take to develop immunity against COVID-19 after vaccination?

It takes almost 3 weeks after the first dose for the body to develop some protective response which is further boosted after 3 weeks following the second dose

Q25. How long will the vaccine protection last?

Not known.

Q26. Are these vaccines effective against new variants?

Current vaccines seem to be effective against UK variant as compared to the South Africa and Brazil variant of this virus.

Q27. I want to travel, will the vaccination affect the covid 19 tests done at the airport?

Vaccination will not affect RT-PCR or antigen detection tests. It affects antibody detection tests.

Q28. So once vaccinated with 2 doses I no longer need the mask right?

Preventive measures for COVID-19 need to be followed as it's not known whether the vaccine will prevent disease transmission to others. Such measures will be required till substantial herd immunity against SARS Cov2 is developed in the community.

Q29. What is the use of vaccination if I have to follow all the preventive measures like wearing a mask, hand sanitization, physical distancing, etc?

Vaccination will help in preventing serious COVID-19 infections and developing Herd immunity.

Q30. In many countries Covid 19 cases are declining, so should individuals in these countries also take the vaccine?

Yes, definitely as we still don’t know when any country may see a surge in cases. In fact, taking the jab in this window period is the best shield possible an individual can get against this deadly disease.


FAQs on COVID-19 vaccines FAQs on COVID-19 vaccines 01/27/2021
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