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Vaccine Resources

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A Thread by @sohini_gowan

Healthcare Communicator. Strategist. Pharmacist. Ex-Clinical Research professional. Jozi-to-the-core. Hiker. Can’t run to save my life!

Was the vaccine rushed?

Is the vaccine safe?

What is it like having the Covid vaccine?

Will the covid vaccine be forced on people?

Is the Vaccine part of a plot to harm people?

Is the vaccine safe for people with comorbidities?

EH!WOZA

Vaccines | The Importance of Sharing Accurate Information

EH!WOZA

Vaccines Help Prevent Severe COVID Infections, Hospitals and Death

EH!WOZA

How Are Vaccines Made Quickly

COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

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Mythbusters from the World Health Organisation shed light on matters people may have had doubts about. Sourced from who.int.

This guidance document provides basic broad principles for a spokesperson of any health authority on how to respond to vocal vaccine deniers. The suggestions are based on psychological research on persuasion, on research in public health, communication studies and on WHO risk communication guidelines.

FACT: Exposing yourself to the sun or temperatures higher than 25°C DOES NOT protect you from COVID-19

You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19. To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

FACT: Taking a hot bath does not prevent COVID-19

Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

FACT: 5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19

Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

The IDM has compiled resources to help improve vaccine knowledge among the members of the Institute.

This is important in the context of the widespread misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

See here for complete resource list.

Have any other questions? Contact our Vaccine Experts here.

How is vaccine safety monitored during the vaccination process?

Trained personnel administering the vaccine take a medical history, focusing on current wellbeing and allergies to any medications/vaccines/anaesthetic agents used in the past. If a person is feeling unwell at the time, vaccination is deferred until the illness resolves. Similarly, vaccination of people who currently have COVID-19 should be deferred for 30 days from the time of isolation. All vaccinees are observed for a minimum 15 minutes. People with a history of severe allergies (anaphylaxis) in the past are observed for 30 minutes. Vaccination centres are equipped with trained staff and medical supplies which may be required in the event of an emergency.  

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Does the vaccine cause blood clots? What is CVST and thrombocytopenia and how are they related to the JnJ vaccine?

Thrombocytopaenia means low platelet count and TTS stands for Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome. CVST (Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis) occurs when a blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses, thus preventing blood from draining out of the brain. There have reports of TTS, including CVST, following vaccination with the J&J vaccine, mostly among women between 18 and 49 years old. The disorder is characterized by blood clots in the cerebral venous sinuses, blood vessels of the abdomen and the veins of the legs; combined with a low platelet count. Symptoms typically appear one to two weeks after vaccination. These may include: intense headache, abdominal pain, back pain, vomiting, vision changes, change in mental status, shortness of breath, leg swelling. However, these events are extremely rare, occurring at a rate of about 2 per 1 million people. In fact, the risk of blood clots from COVID-19 far outweigh risk of TTS possibly associated with highly efficacious vaccines and safety agencies around the world repeatedly recommend the J&J vaccine for use.

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Are there any people who SHOULD NOT receive the vaccine?

Children under age 12 are not eligible for any COVID-19 vaccine as yet; but clinical trials involving younger children are underway. People who have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any COVID-19 vaccine should not get a second dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine.

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Do I get any protection from having had COVID19 disease?

The simple answer is yes. A previous COVID19 diagnosis would have stimulated a certain level of natural immune reaction and production of anti-bodies to SARS-CoV-2 (The virus responsible for COVID-19). However, scientific data is lacking as to how long this protection will last and to what extent it would cover different variants (mutations) of the virus. There are multiple case reports of people being re-infected, either with the same variant or a new variant, even within three months of recovering from COVID19. This is concerning as some of these re-infections are more severe than the first. This is why vaccination is so important, as it assists in building the immune system and stimulating immune responses using multiple different pathways that provide durable and improved protection from severe and/or life-threatening COVID-19.

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What is a severe allergic reaction?

A severe allergic reaction (or anaphylaxis) can be a life-threatening emergency following the introduction of a substance to the body that results in an overwhelming allergic response. The reaction occurs within a few seconds to minutes following the exposure to the substance (referred to as an allergen). This response creates multiple different signs and symptoms as the reaction progresses that healthcare workers can rapidly identify and treat. These include, reddening and blotching of the skin (hives) , dizziness, nausea, a drop in blood pressure, wheezing and shortness of breath, swelling of the face and a feeling of fullness in the throat. The major concern with severe allergic reactions is the possibility that the throat (airway) can swell and cause difficulty breathing which may require the patient to have their airway secured through a process of intubation. Drops in blood pressure are also managed with intravenous fluids (a drip). The first line treatment for this condition is kept at all vaccination sites and is called adrenaline. Additional treatment with corticosteroids may be required. In most cases of anaphylaxis, if identified and managed early enough, patients are able to be discharged within a few days from hospital.

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Can I still get COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine?

Yes. Many people falsely believe that being vaccinated makes it impossible for you to be infected with COVID-19. However, this is simply not true. Currently, the main goal of vaccination is to prevent the development of severe or life-threatening COVID 19 and deaths associated with COIVD-19. There is some scientific data that vaccination does reduce the period of “infectiousness” that an asymptomatic person may have, however, this is still being assessed in clinical trials. Therefore, any person who develops symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status should undergo the necessary testing and mandatory isolation period as stipulated by local guidelines.

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How was the vaccine developed so quickly?

The COVID 19 vaccines that we have available have all gone through three phases of clinical trials to make sure that they are safe and effective. Because of the urgency to develop a vaccine during the pandemic, these three phases overlapped so that the vaccines could be made available to the public quickly in an attempt to control the pandemic and prevent severe disease, hospitalisation and death.

There was a massive global effort and collaboration which involved many funders and scientists in order for the vaccine to be developed and for the clinical trials to proceed and enrol tens of thousands of volunteers. The need to rapidly develop a vaccine against the virus came at a time when scientists had advanced understanding of vaccine development and vaccine technology. Scientists have been asked to respond urgently to other epidemics such as Ebola, Zika and H1N1 influenza.

These existing vaccine platforms were built on to develop the COVID 19 vaccines. Additionally, the knowledge that was gained through past research on coronaviruse vaccines helped speed up the initial development of current COVID 19 vaccines.

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How was the vaccine tested?

The COVID 19 vaccines were tested through clinical trails for safety and efficacy. The clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines have involved tens of thousands of volunteers of different ages, races, and ethnicities. Clinical trials for vaccines compare outcomes (such as how many people get sick) between people who are vaccinated and people who are not. Vaccinations that have been approved by the FDA (full approval and Emergency Use Authorisation) continue to undergo intense safety monitoring for problems and side effects.

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What can I expect after vaccination?

Some side effects are common and expected after vaccination. These side effects are usually mild and go away after a few days. Common side effects are pain, redness and swelling on the arm where you got the injection and sometimes tiredness, headache, muscle pain and flu-like symptoms. These symptoms are normal signs that your body is working to build protection. You can relieve these side effects by getting enough rest, and drinking plenty of fluids.

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Is the vaccine dangerous for children?

No, the vaccine is not dangerous for children. The Pfizer vaccine is safe for use in children aged 12 years and older. There have been extremely rare cases of ‘myocarditis’ which is an inflammation of the heart muscle, but this is usually mild inflammation, and resolves with rest within a few days. It is important to remember that this is extremely rare and the benefit of vaccination far outweighs any potential risk of side effects of the vaccine.

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When will the vaccine become available to children?

The Pfizer vaccine is currently available for children aged 12 years and older. Children in this age group are strongly encouraged to receive the COVID vaccine.

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Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?

Yes. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are encouraged to receive the vaccine (at any stage during pregnancy). Pregnant women who become infected with Covid are at greater risk of severe illness, and therefore strongly encouraged to receive the vaccine in order to prevent severe illness. In addition there is some evidence that protection from the COVID vaccine is passed on to unborn babies, as well as to breastfed infants.

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