Don't fear the COVID-19 vaccination!
Our infectologist Dr. Tamás Pék and our hospital’s Head of Outpatient Care, Dr. Éva Junger, in line with their professional information, would like to state with certainty that the currently available Pfizer vaccine is safe, reliable and free from significant side effects. The same goes for vaccines created by other manufacturers that have been approved by the highly professional and experienced US FDA and European EMA organizations responsible for introducing new drugs based on the evidence submitted to them!
Pfizer’s vaccine, named Comirnaty, has been tested on almost 40,000 people, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for widespread human use by the authorities, providing approximately 95% protection.
The vaccine is an mRNA-based inoculant, a technology already in use for 10 years and which works by instructing cell cytoplasm to produce a coronavirus ’spike’ antigen protein, to which our immune system then responds. It appears that the immune response to the antigen produced by one's own body is stronger. The vaccine can be produced quickly, does not contain any viral material and cannot cause infection.
There is no danger that the mRNA will be incorporated into human genetic material, not least because it only reaches the cell’s cytoplasm and not its nucleus; incorporation into human DNA is also not possible because its biochemical structure differs to human DNA and also lacks appropriate enzymes. As such, there is no danger to women regarding later childbearing or infertility!
Pregnant women, those who are planning to become pregnant within 2 months and children under the age of 16 have not yet been vaccinated because insufficient experience has been gathered with these groups to be able to form a definitive conclusion regarding their safety, however data collection is still under way to this end.
Local and minor inflammation, tiredness or a headache may occur once the vaccine is administered, and a mild fever or nausea may be experienced following the second vaccination after 3 weeks, but these rare side effects pass within 24 hours and do not require hospital treatment, though if necessary, a painkiller or antipyretic (fever-reducing) medication may be used, as applicable.
The one serious side effect that has been reported, acute allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), is very rare. Therefore, for those who are known to have the most severe allergic reaction e.g., to medication, bee stings or previous vaccination, the COVID-19 vaccination is not advisable.
For the time being, COVID-19 inoculation cannot be given in the following cases: to those administered with other vaccinations within the past 2 weeks, or those who have other vaccinations planned within 2 weeks; to anyone experiencing acute illness with fever (including COVID-19 infection). In cases of a proven COVID-19 infection after the first vaccination, a second vaccination is not required.
To those with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, vaccination can be given according to the procedure, currently at least 3 months after the infection.
It is not yet known for how long the vaccine will offer protection, but the very first vaccines were administrated 8 months ago and are still working well. Vaccination also appears to be effective against viral mutations to date.
The Moderna vaccine, which arrived in early January, is similarly mRNA-based with slightly less demanding storage conditions – there is no need to refrigerate it at -60 C as -20 C is sufficient.
However, it is important that even after receiving the series of vaccinations, the general preventive measures (social distance, use of masks) should still be applied for the benefit of our other, not yet vaccinated fellow human beings!