With the COVID-19 vaccine upon us, and we see the light at the end of this pandemic. However, doctors are saying not everyone should be getting the vaccine. Continue reading to find out who should and who shouldn’t receive the vaccination.
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
Nearly everyone should get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is made available to them. We are trying to achieve herd immunity, which will not be possible if too many people refuse to get vaccinated.
If the number of people who don’t and can’t get the shot is small enough, we will all still be protected because the virus will not spread easily. It is crucial to reach herd immunity to put an end to this pandemic.
Here’s how to know if you’re a good candidate to receive the vaccine.
Is the Vaccine Safe?
Yes! Both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are completely safe and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition to that, expert committees approved the vaccines, including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
You may be hearing some outrageous conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine, but know that they are far from the truth. The proof in the data, don’t rely on social media to get the facts. Both safety and efficacy of the vaccine are evident, which should be reassuring to you.
The CDC allows the vaccine to be administered to pregnant people and various professional societies advocate for pregnant people to get vaccinated. There are mixed reports on whether or not those who are lactating, pregnant or trying to get pregnant should receive the vaccine.
The vaccine “will protect the pregnant woman, it does not cross the placenta, and the good news is that if those women make antibodies, the antibodies will cross the placenta and help protect the baby,” according to Sharon Nachman, MD, the chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.
“And if they’re breastfeeding, it will also help protect their baby,” Nachman added.
Clinical trials for the vaccine did not include pregnant people. Although, studies involving pregnant people are coming. Both Covid-19 vaccines use messenger (mRNA), meaning they contain genetic material with instructions to cells for them to make proteins.
As of now, experts believe it is unlikely that the mRNA poses a risk to those who are pregnant or the fetus. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines are not live vaccines, so they shouldn’t pose a threat.
In December 2020, the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement saying that pregnant women and lactating women should both be vaccinated. If you are pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider to figure out the best option for you.
Keep in mind; some people should definitely not be vaccinated.
Allergies To Vaccine Components
It can be very dangerous to take the vaccine if you have allergies to any of its components. The ingredients in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine are listed on the FDA website and corresponding websites. If you do happen to allergic to one or more of the ingredients, experts recommend avoiding getting vaccinated until other vaccines become available.
Anaphylactic reactions have happened to a very small number of people after receiving the first dose of the vaccine. Although it is an extremely rare occurrence, those who experience an anaphylactic reaction after the first dose should definitely avoid the second dose.
It’s important to note that If you have previously had a severe allergic reaction to a different vaccine, talk to your doctor before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who have allergies that are not related to vaccines can and should still get the vaccine.
After receiving the vaccine, the CDC says you’ll be put under observation for 15 minutes, and if you have a history of severe allergic reactions, the observation time is doubled.
Just know that it’s extremely rare to react to the vaccine, especially if you have never reacted to one before. The CDC reported the chances of a person experiencing anaphylaxis is an estimated 11.1 cases per 1 million doses.
Bell’s Palsy and Guillain–Barré syndrome
According to the CDC, a few cases of Bell’s palsy or sudden weakness in the muscles on one-half of the face were reported after vaccination in both vaccines clinical trials. However, the FDA has not found these cases to be causally related to vaccination.
Remember, though; it is possible for people to develop unrelated medical problems at the same time they receive the vaccine or when they are doing the trials. These medical problems that arise may be coincidental and have nothing to do with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Bell’s Palsy is a self-resolving, unharmful condition. With that said, knowing that a very small number of people who did get Bell’s palsy should not deter you from getting the vaccine.
The CDC says, if you have a history of Bell’s palsy, you may still receive the vaccine as long as you have no record of severe or immediate allergic reactions to the vaccine components.
Additionally, Dr. Anthony Fauci recommends those with a history of a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome should avoid receiving the vaccine.
Immunocompromised People or Those Who Have Taken Immunosuppressive Medications
Immunomodulatory medications won’t cause the vaccine to harm you, but they may lower the body’s ability to create a good immune response. So, if you are taking such medications, it is best to speak to their health care provider to weigh the risks.
According to the CDC, no data is currently available regarding the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines for those with autoimmune conditions. However, such persons were eligible for enrollment in clinical trials.
An immunocompromised can get vaccinated if they have no history of allergic reactions to vaccines. However, they should be aware of the unknown vaccine safety profile and effectiveness in immunocompromised populations.
Re-vaccination or additional doses are not recommended by the CDC for people who received the vaccine during chemotherapy or treatment involving other immunosuppressive drugs.
If You Have Covid-19 Right Now or Have Been Exposed
It is best to wait until you completely recover from COVID-19 before getting vaccinated. Since reinfection is uncommon, according to the CDC, you may even want to wait up to 90 days after recovering.
Following exposure to COVID-19, the vaccine is will likely be ineffective in preventing disease. So, don’t put the health of others at risk by getting vaccinated under these conditions.
According to the CDC, if you received Covid-19 antibodies, it is recommended to wait 90 days before being vaccinated as a precautionary measure to avoid interference with immune responses.
The Moderna vaccine is available for people 18 or older. And people 16 or older can receive the Pfizer vaccine. The CDC says, neither COVID-19 vaccine is currently approved for children. In the Pfizer trial, kids aged 12 to 15 were included but did not make up a large enough number. So, more research is necessary.
Most People Can and Should Get Vaccinated
It is completely safe and highly recommended for most adults to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant women, those who are immunocompromised or who take immunosuppressive medications are the main groups of people who should consult their doctors before vaccination.
Those who should avoid the vaccine until others become available are people with a severe or immediate allergic reaction to the vaccine ingredients.
Additionally, people who are currently infected with COVID-19 should wait until complete recovery to receive the vaccination. And, finally, those who received COVID-19 antibodies should wait 90 days to receive the vaccine.
New research is always in the works, and guidelines can change.