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Vaccines for the COVID-19 Virus

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Vaccines: How Do They Work?

Vaccines: How Do They Work?

Availability of COVID-19 Vaccine

There have been three large-scale clinical trials in progress over the past several months.

The three vaccines in the U.S. are:

  1. AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
  2. Janssen’s CVID-19 vaccine
  3. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

The goal for any vaccine is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus.

The COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (AstraZeneca) has received emergency use authorization, and Moderna will be released in the next few days. Pfizer-BioNTech may reduce their price for India, and many countries will give it to their citizens for free. That includes the United States, England, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Pakistan. These three companies are expected to produce over 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

In the United States, this vaccine was approved for emergency use by the FDA’s 22 member panel that includes experts on infectious diseases, epidemiology and immunology.

How Vaccines Work

Our bodies fight illness in several ways. For example, when the COVID-19 invades our bodies they attack and multiply. Our blood cells contain oxygen-carrying red blood cells and white blood cells that fight infection. Our white blood cells fight infection in several ways, which includes:

  • Macrophages - they swallow and digest germs and dead or dying cells but leave some parts of the invading germs behind, called antigens
  • B-lymphocytes - they produce antibodies that attack the virus pieces (antigens) left behind by the macrophages
  • T-lymphocytes - a white blood cell that attacks infected cells in the body

It can take several days or even longer after the body has been invaded by this virus to make all the germ-fighting tools necessary to defeat the virus. Once the virus is defeated antibodies remain, so your body is then protected from the disease. The COVID-19 vaccine aids our bodies in developing immunity to the virus. It usually takes a few weeks after the injection for the body to develop full immunity, but one study showed a 63% immunity shortly after the injection.

This mRNA vaccine actually contains COVID-19 virus material that instructs our cells to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. When our cells make copies of the protein, they are able to destroy the vaccine’s genetic material. Then, our bodies realize that the protein is an invader and it builds T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that are able to fight the virus in the future. The vaccine does not change your DNA.


Recent Developments

Both of the vaccines require a second dose three weeks following the first one, and even if you had some side effects from the first vaccine it is important to get the second one. Healthcare personnel that cares for people with the virus and residents of the long-term care facilities will receive the vaccine first.

On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the COVID-19 vaccine for individuals over the age of sixteen. I live in Florida, and they are getting ready to receive 367,000 doses of Moderna vaccines next week. The Moderna vaccine does not have to be kept at an extremely low temperature like the Pfizer vaccine. Vice President Pence, his wife and the surgeon general got the vaccine on camera today.

What To Expect

When you get the vaccine injection you should receive a vaccination card or electronic version of a fact sheet. It will tell you which vaccine you received, with the date and where you received it.

Possible side effects include:

  • Low grade fever
  • Chills
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Sore arm at the injection site

Who Should Not Get The Vaccine

There are a small number of healthcare workers who had an allergic reaction to the vaccine. I am aware of two were in the United Kingdom and two were in Alaska. These people were quickly treated and they recovered. As a result of these reactions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Health Service stated some people have been asked not to get the vaccine at this time.

These people include:

  • People with severe allergies
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are immunocompromised
  • Children younger than 12 years old


V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that is used by the CDC. They use text messaging and web surveys to allow check-ins after you receive the vaccine. It allows you to tell the CDC about any side effects you may experience. Someone from the CDC may call you back to check on you, depending on the information you provide. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose. Participation in this program helps make the vaccines safe.

Phase 3 Clinical Trial

Phase 3 clinical trials started on July 27 and had 43,661 participants enrolled in the study. The second dose was then given to 41,135 of the participants. The participants had ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds, and 42% were global participants with 30% from the U.S. About 150 clinical trials were in the United States, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and Argentina. The clinical trials will continue over the next two years. They want to continue to collect efficacy and safety data.

Eight people in the study did have the virus, but they were in the placebo group. Only 3.8% complained of fatigue and 2% complained of a headache.

In Summary

It is very important for people to stop this pandemic by wearing masks, socIal distancing and getting the vaccine. This is a deadly disease for healthcare workers, the elderly and those with comorbidities. The long-term care residents are very much at risk, and they are usually the elderly

This vaccine will not cause a positive COVID-19 viral test. There are severe health risks associated with COVID-19, so people may be advised to get the vaccine even if they have had the illness.

Experts simply do not know how long someone will have protection after receiving the injection. Natural immunity typically occurs following an infection, but experts do not know if that holds true for COVID-19 at this time. This will vary from one person to another. More data is necessary, and scientists continue working on this virus treatment.

I am not a doctor, but I did a great deal of research for this article. I plan to get the vaccine as I am in the high-risk category, but each person must decide for themself.


COVIE-19 Vaccine

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Pamela Oglesby


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 28, 2020:

Hi Lora,

I am in the same boat as you and hope to get the vaccine in the near future. Anyone with a compromised immune system or lung disease whould get the vaccine. I am glad you found this article to be so informative, and I appreciate your comments.

Lora Hollings on December 27, 2020:

Wonderful article Pamela on the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. It is interesting to learn about the differences. I will certainly be getting vaccinated as I don't want to risk my immune system against Covid. Because, I also have pulmonary sarcoidosis I certainly don't want to risk getting my lungs infected. You did a great job covering this topic. I also learned a lot from watching the videos.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 27, 2020:

Hi MG,

i understand your apprehension as there is no way to know what the long term effects may be, but I don't know if the virus will leave without the vaccine.

I will get the vaccine due to my age and health problems. At my age I don't have to worry as much about long term effects.

Thank you for your comments. Hope you have a wonderful 2021!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 27, 2020:

This is a very nice article Pamela and it's so optimistic though I am a little pessimistic. I hope these vaccines don't have any long-term adverse effects but then we will come to know only after many years have elapsed. At the moment I don't plan to take a jab of the virus vaccine.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 27, 2020:

Hi Devika,

I am glad to hear that. I hope all will eventually get the vaccine, so we can defeat this virus. Thanks for your comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 27, 2020:

Pamela99 the vaccine has arrived in Croatia and those who are at a vulnerable age will have it.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 20, 2020:

Hi MG,

The development of this vaccine is different from some of the other flu vaccines. At this point it appears to be safe, but it has only been a few months in development. Obviously, you have to make your own decision.

I appreciate your comments. Stay healthy, MG!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 20, 2020:

Hi Chitrangada,

I believe the number of people that have side effects from the vaccine is very small and the side effects are mild.

I sure hope this vaccine becomes available for everyone very soon, as I agree with you that COVID is scary.

Thank you so much for your nice comments. Stay safe and healthy.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 19, 2020:

Pamela, this is a very informative article. It appears that a person requires 2 jabs but nobody really knows what will happen year or or 2 after the vaccine has been taken. It could develop some other strains in the body and at that time people may not know what to do. I don't feel too inclined to take this vaccine though the Russian vaccine has come to India and efficacy is reported at 95%

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 19, 2020:

An important and informative article about the most awaited vaccine. You explained everything very clearly. I hope that it proves effective for everyone.

Apprehensions are natural, but the dangers of COVID-19 is more than scary.

We are getting the news of people getting the vaccine, especially the frontline healthcare professionals, and by God’s grace, they are doing well.

Thank you for sharing this excellent and useful information.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Ann,

I would like to receive th second vaccine also. It just seems safer somehow. I should have written Britain as I read that the vaccine was going out where. It is great that William Shakespeare of Stratford got the vaccine. In the U.S. VP Pence and his wife got the vaccine, so it seems safer for all of us.

Thank you for your generous comments. I pray you stay safe and healthy, Ann.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 19, 2020:

I wouldn't think twice about having the vaccine but feel better about the prospect of one that doesn't have to be kept at low temperatures etc - more to go wrong possibly. It's marvellous that they've come up with one, let alone several, and as for the theories of manipulating the masses, well what planet are those people on?!

Good, clear hub, Pamela. By the way, the vaccines have been going out in all of Britain, not just England, and I loved the fact that William Shakespeare of Stratford was one of the first to be inoculated!


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Adrienne,

I agree! We do not need a mutation. I think getting the vaccine is the right thing to do. Even if you were exposed to the mutation it would hopefully have only a very mild effect on you. I am getting the vaccine as soon as I can as I am in the high risk category. I hope it will be available for you very soon.

I appreciate your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

Adrienne Farricelli on December 19, 2020:

I am planning to get vaccinated as soon as available. My biggest concern right now is the strong, highly trasmissibile new strain found in the UK. I hope that they are able to contain it as I wonder whether these brand new vaccines will cover it. All we need is mutations right when we just got the vaccine out!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Rachel,

My husband and I are taking it also. Thank you for your comments.

Stay safe and healthy.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on December 19, 2020:

I was happy to see your post about the vaccine. I heard there are some people who don't want to take it. My husband and I will as soon as we can. Thanks for all of the information.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

Your allergies need to be considered for sure. Your doctor will advise you. I appreciate your very nice comments. Stay safe and healthy.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 19, 2020:

Pamela, your article is so important and written so well. I'm not sure I can take the vaccine with my allergies, but I will if my Dr. says it's ok. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Louise,

Yes, they are vaccinating a lot of people here too. They are starting with healthcare workers and the elderly who live in nursing homes. Thanks for commenting. Stay safe and healthy.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on December 19, 2020:

Have they started vaccinating people in the US yet? They have here in England.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Linda,

My husband and I plan to get the vaccine. I hope most people do get the vaccine, but I know a lot of people are saying they won't. Biden is suppose to be getting it soon and Pence did, so maybe that will help people have less fear.

I appreciate your comments, Linda. Stay safe and healthy.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on December 19, 2020:

Pamela, you've help clarify a topic that I'm sure has been very confusing to many. I'm concerned that the "anti-vaxcers" will rob us of the solution to this pandemic. The 3 of us in my family will certainly take the vaccine but are waiting a bit for a better picture of the effects.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

I think it is important to know all the facts. I look forward to a post-pandemic world. I hope you are right about most people surviving.

Stay safe and healthy, Peggy.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Yes, there are many unknowns. I thought it might be helpful to summarize where we are at.

I appreciate your very thoughtful comments. I hope you safe an healthy too. Happy Holidays!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2020:

Thanks for being another voice of reason, Pamela. People need to know accurate information like this. Hopefully, most people reading this will survive to live in a post-pandemic world once again.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 19, 2020:

So many unknowns, still, but this is a very positive step on the right direction. Very nice summary of it all, Pamela! Well done!

Stay safe, be healthy, and Happy Holidays to you!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

Your nice comments are always appreciated. I hope you stay well. God bless you.

manatita44 from london on December 19, 2020:

Well done Pamela! Up to date as usual. God bless you my dear. Peace!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

I thought it would be good to know the benefits and risks as I think we all have decisions to make in this pandemic. I appreciate your comments. Stay safe and healthy.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

Hi John,

I understand your reasoning, and I am glad you are not in a high risk area. Thank you so much for commenting. Have a good weekend.

Rosina S Khan on December 19, 2020:

Great informative and practical article. Everyone will need this information. I truly hope more data is available as scientists work on the COVID-19 case. Thank you, Pamela, for the inspiring and hopeful article.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 19, 2020:

Thank you for sharing this important information, Pamela. As we are not in a high risk area I would wait until the vaccines have been out awhile so the effectiveness and side effects are clear.