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COVID Vaccine What We Know

Shady Oaks Community,

COVID vaccinations will soon be here.  I want to share what we know of them so far:

  1. What are vaccines?  Vaccines train immune systems to produce antibodies against a disease.  Most vaccines contain weakened versions of the disease they protect against.  Smallpox, polio, measles, flu, and pneumonia vaccines save millions of lives every year.
  2. What is COVID-19?  COVID has dangerous infectious DNA.  This is protected by a surrounding ball of fat.  This ball has connective protein spikes (“corona” or crown).


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  1. How do Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work? Both tell our bodies (by mRNA) to make spikes (like on the ball) for a few days.  These spikes do not have dangerous DNA.  Our bodies train against the spikes, and this is how our bodies learn to defeat COVID-19.
  2. How did Pfizer and Moderna test their vaccines?  They tested over 73,000 people.  252 placebo people got symptoms and tested COVID positive.  Of the vaccinated people, only 13 got COVID.  Known pregnant people and those over age 85 were not in trials.
  3. How effective are the vaccines?  Results suggest the vaccines reduce COVID-19 risks by 95%.  This protection against COVID is stronger than wearing N95 masks 24/7.  Also, if we do catch COVID, results suggest the vaccines help reduce symptom severity.
  4. When might the vaccines be here?  The CDC/FDA will review them, and they may be here late December.  The U.K. began senior home vaccinations on 8 December.  Vaccines need two shots several weeks apart.  “Immunity” is one week after the 2nd shot.
  5. What are the side effects?  These include temporary fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, and headache.  Some had fever or chills.  The 2nd injection had the heaviest side effects.  Effects subsided within 24-36 hours.  So far, older people did not have more side effects.  The CDC/FDA might not recommend the vaccines for pregnancies and extreme allergies.
  6. What if I am allergic to flu shots?  Most flu vaccines use egg-based technology.  Some people are allergic to eggs and flu shots.  These COVID vaccines do not use eggs.
  7. Are there concerns?  Right now, the vaccines feel like both a privilege and burden.  They will very likely protect us, yet there are unknowns.  Scientists have studied similar vaccines over a decade, so they were ready to more safely make these COVID vaccines.  Pfizer and Moderna reputations are at stake, but Congress did partly protect them from lawsuits.  To me, I feel better two companies made similar vaccines with similar results.  Compared to side effects seen so far, we know catching COVID is far more dangerous.
  8. Why take the vaccines?  At rates now, without vaccines, a majority of people in CT may get COVID by 2022.  Everyone fears getting COVID and severe illness from it.  Everyone fears giving COVID to others.  If family members get COVID, it is dangerous to visit them.  Strong vaccines protect us, so we can be live free, safe, and with less fear.  We are all in this together.  By taking the vaccine, we do our part to help end COVID.

For further information on our COVID-19 preparations and response please read our blog Preparations Against COVID-19.

Very Respectfully,

Tyson Francis Belanger