With the first COVID 19 vaccine being approved only days ago, many people are naturally having a lot of questions about what this means for the virus and how we will be moving forward as a society. Who will be getting the vaccine? Will we still need to social distance and wear masks? How much will the vaccine cost?
Does the Vaccine Mean No More Masks?
We will be going through all of these questions one by one to help you get a better understanding of how the vaccine will improve quality of life during the coronavirus pandemic.
How Effective is the Coronavirus Vaccine?
While there are many different vaccines currently being tested, there are two that are the farthest along and have come to the forefront: the Moderna and the Pfizer. At this moment in time, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA and the Moderna soon to follow. Both vaccines have shown to be about 95% effective at reducing the symptoms in those who contract the COVID 19 virus after being vaccinated.
In the clinical trials for the Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine, it was proven to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms among participants with 8 positive cases in the vaccine group and 162 positive cases found in the placebo group.
For the Moderna Vaccine, it was proven to be 94.1% effective at preventing severe symptoms in its 30,000 personal clinical trial. While the Moderna Vaccine has not been officially approved for emergency use by the FDA, it is expected to gain approval within the next week.
The overall goal for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is to reduce the severity of symptoms from the coronavirus and not necessarily prevent contraction altogether with the hopes that over time the vaccine will weaken the virus’ symptoms and eventually lead to what is known as ‘herd immunity’. Essentially, herd immunity means that enough people have had or been exposed to the virus (about 70%) that is no longer a threat to the community and will no longer bear significant weight on our healthcare system.
It is not known at this time whether either vaccine will be effective in preventing some who have been vaccinated from actually contracting the virus. This is something that scientists are hoping to discover as more people begin to get the vaccine.
How Do These Vaccines Work?
Unlike the common Flu Vaccine which actually injects a weakened form of the virus into an individual to elicit an immune response and help build immunity, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain the active coronavirus. Instead, they rely on mRNA technology which provides messenger sequence when injected into the body that contains genetic instructions to compel the body to produce the proper antigens which result in immune response within the body.
mRNA technology has never been used in a vaccine up until now.
Both vaccines will require each individual to receive two rounds of treatment. The two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are to occur 3 weeks apart, whereas the Moderna vaccine doses will be given 4 weeks apart. Neither vaccine will be fully effective until both rounds have been administered.
At this time, it is still unclear how long immunity will last for either vaccine. Scientists are hoping to gain further insight into this as the vaccine is rolled out to the public and observed.
Will I Still Have to Wear a Mask if I Get the Coronavirus Vaccine?
The short answer to this is yes, at least for now. The reason for this is reliant on a few different factors:
- Each vaccine requires 2 doses given weeks apart. Since neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines are given in a single dose, neither is effective instantly. Individuals will have to get two shots at either 3 or 4 weeks apart depending on the vaccine available to them. For this reason, even those who have been vaccinated will need to continue to wear their mask.
- Neither vaccine fully prevents the spread of the virus. As we previously mentioned, the goal of both vaccines is about lessening the symptoms experiences should you get the virus. As far as we know, neither vaccine completely prevents the spread of the virus meaning it can still be spread by a vaccinated individual.
- Vaccinating an entire population is expected to take many months. Although the first round of the Pfizer vaccine is beginning to roll out to front-line healthcare workers and first responders, most of our population is not estimated to have access to a vaccine until the Spring of 2021 at the earliest. The next group of individuals to receive access to a vaccine will be those who are immunocompromised such as those with a pre-existing condition and the elderly.
- There is a limited manufacturing capacity for the vaccines at this time. Until the capacity for making these vaccines increases, which it is expected to in the coming months, the rollout of new rounds may be slower.
Do I Still Need to Social Distance if I Get the Vaccine?
Yes, as is the case with mask-wearing, continuing to practice safe social distancing measures will prove to be imperative in controlling the spread of the virus.
Do I Need the Vaccine if I Already Contracted COVID-19?
The CDC has not yet released a recommendation for if those who have previously contracted the virus will need to get the vaccine. It is still unclear at this time whether those who have previously contracted the coronavirus will need to get the vaccine. It is also unclear exactly how long immunity to the virus lasts once an individual recovers. Currently, it is thought that immunity may last about 2-3 months.
What Are the Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccines?
Results from the clinical trials have been promising, with most participants experiencing mild or no side effects at all. The most common side effects were:
- Pain at the injection site
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
Side effects typically lasted for less than 24 hours, with most subsiding within a few days. In rare cases, some people reported having moderate to severe allergic reactions that were non life-threatening.
While a vaccine is an incredibly important step forward for reducing the spread of the coronavirus and ending this pandemic, we still have a while to go before we are completely out of the woods. For now, continuing to wear face masks, social distance, and follow protocols laid out by the CDC will play a key role in how quickly we are able to get back to “normal”.
Still Not Sure What to Make of the Vaccine?
Here are some helpful resources to help better understand the vaccine and your options:
Where to Buy A Face Mask?
At Source Ortho, we are proud to offer a variety of the best face masks for sale. We have a selection of KN95 masks, 3 Ply Masks, Face Shields, and N94 face masks in stock and available for same-day shipping.