Friday, March 26, 2021

Quick Vaccine Facts by Dr. Edsel Salvana

'Covid-19 Vaccines'

1. It takes about two weeks from the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to get SOME protection from disease. FULL protection won't be attained until 2 WEEKS AFTER THE 2nd dose. Continue sticking to face shield and face mask even AFTER getting vaccinated because you can still get infected, and you can still be a carrier even after completion of the 2 doses. But your chances of dying from COVID-19 will be miniscule once the protection kicks in.

2. NONE of the current COVID-19 vaccines can cause COVID-19. They will NOT cause you to have a positive RT-PCR. The only type of vaccine that can do that is a live attenuated SARS CoV-2 virus vaccine and we do NOT have that vaccine platform yet available for use. The killed virus, mRNA, viral vector and spike protein vaccines will not cause a false positive RT-PCR or antigen test. They MAY cause a positive ANTIBODY test but this is not consistent enough with the different antibody kits to be used to determine whether the vaccine worked or not.

3. If you develop RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS (cough, colds, sore throat) after vaccination, that is UNLIKELY from vaccination. You need to get a COVID-19 RT-PCR ASAP.

4. You DO NOT need an RT-PCR or antibody test before or after vaccination. However, make sure you have no symptoms or recent (within 14 days) close contact with a confirmed case since you might be incubating. It isn't harmful for someone to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they are incubating, but it may not work.

5. There is no need to check antibody levels after vaccination because we do not yet know what levels are protective, or if it represents neutralizing antibody. There are also no commercially available tests that measure CELL-MEDIATED immunity which is thought to play a MAJOR role in preventing severe COVID-19. 

6. There is urgency in the highest risk groups like healthcare workers getting vaccinated especially in light of the recent surge. A day CAN make a difference since it takes a while for the immune response to kick in and healthcare workers are exposed every single day. If we had these vaccines last year, less than 10% of the 2.6 million people who have died from COVID-19 would have died. Please take the first vaccine offered to you if you are eligible so that it can begin protecting you as soon as possible. (The author is the Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines in Manila, and is Clinical Associate Professor and Research Coordinator at the Section of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Medicine at the Philippine General Hospital.)

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