As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is hope now that vaccines will help end this pandemic. This article reviews vaccine basics and how this will help prevent getting a COVID-19 infection.
What are vaccines?
Vaccines, also known as “vaccinations” or “immunizations,” help prevent specific infections. They help teach your body’s immune system to fight germs that cause infections. Edward Jenner created the first vaccine to smallpox in 1798. Since then, the number of kids and adults who die from infections has gone down dramatically. The rate of crippling diseases such as polio have gone down significantly as well.
Vaccines are usually given as shots, but occasionally they may be given as nasal sprays or medicines that are swallowed.
Some vaccines only require one dose to be effective while others may require two or more doses. The two COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA under emergency use authorization (EUA) require two doses. Most vaccines require a couple of weeks to start working.
Why should I get vaccinated?
Vaccines help prevent you from getting sick. Vaccines can also help keep you from getting very sick if you do get an infection. You will also protect those around you from getting sick. When you are able to get a COVID-19 vaccine, this vaccine will most likely end the pandemic more quickly than not getting vaccinated.
What are common side effects of vaccines?
The most common side effects include:
- Mild swelling, redness, or soreness where you got your shot
- Mild rash
- Headache or body aches
- Mild fever
More serious side effects, including severe allergic reactions, are very rare.
There has been speculation for many years that there is a link between vaccines and autism based on one study. This study was false and has been withdrawn. Scientists have found no link after many careful studies have been performed.
Further information on vaccine safety can be found here.
What if I have an egg allergy?
In the past, many people worried about egg allergy and getting a reaction to the influenza (flu) shot. However, the amount of egg is so small that it does not cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, people who have an egg allergy should still get the flu vaccine. In fact, recent guidelines now state that it is not necessary to ask about egg allergy prior to giving a flu vaccine.
If I have a food allergy, drug allergy, or a history of anaphylaxis, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
At this time, you can still get the COVID-19 vaccine. The only people who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine are those who have had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or to its components. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any food products or antibiotics.
If you have a history of a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable medicine, you can still get these vaccines, but you should be monitored for at least 30 minutes after the shot.
Oak Brook Allergists will continue to update you with important information regarding vaccines when it becomes available. We will go beyond vaccine basics in future blog posts. If you have further questions, please call us at (630) 574-0460 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We have convenient locations in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, and Plainfield.