On December 11, 2020, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in the US for individuals 16 years and older.
PfizerBioNTech recently enrolled children as young as age 12 in COVID-19 vaccine studies.
Moderna and Janssen are about to start a similar study in children.
Astra Zeneca has recently been approved to enroll children in the UK ages 5-12.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women?
There is no safety data on vaccines and pregnancy or lactating women. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) reviewed all of the available data and recommends offering the vaccine to pregnant and lactating women. ACOG advises women to have a conversation with their medical team in order to make an informed choice with regards to the vaccine.
How long will the vaccine last?
The length of immunity is unknown. The first vaccine was administered on 5/20/2020. Data on how long the vaccine will last is ongoing and will be continuously updated.
How soon does the vaccine begin to work?
Data suggests that the vaccine begins to work 1-2 weeks after the second dose.
Is the vaccine safe?
MRNA is a new technology. The vaccine gets into the cell, gives the body instructions to produce a spike-protein, then the mRNA breaks down quickly. It is impossible for it to stay in the cell or get into our DNA. The spike-protein then creates a reaction for the purpose of defending us against the coronavirus.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
The potential side effects are usually mild or moderate and include sore arm, fatigue, fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches.
Will the vaccine be available for children before the 2021-2022 school year?
Vaccine studies on children must be completed before a recommendation is made. These studies have just begun. If the pace at which the current studies in adults have been completed continues, then there is a fair chance that vaccines for some age groups of children may be available before the 2021-2022 school year. Although the pace of the current studies seemed quick, research on the development of messenger RNA vaccines began in the early 1990’s.
Do I still need to wear a mask after I am vaccinated?
Yes, the CDC recommends that everyone continue to use all the tools, including wearing a mask during the pandemic. Experts will continue to study the vaccine in real life and until more is known, the recommendation is to still mask up.