As we pass the one year mark of when Covid-19 shutdowns began, things are starting to look brighter. We are cautiously and carefully optimistic. Vaccines are a significant reason for the progress we are making. Better Health Advisors has put together a list of 5 updates regarding Covid-19.
1. New vaccines and treatments on the horizon. Vaccine rollout in the US continues to ramp up. Nearly 42 million Americans are fully vaccinated, and 2.57 million doses are being administered each day. As vaccination efforts continue, two new vaccine candidates will help the United States move closer to achieving herd immunity.
- AstraZeneca (AZD1222). The drug giant is expected to apply for FDA emergency use authorization with results showing 76% efficacy against symptomatic cases, and 100% efficacy against severe disease and hospitalization. This vaccine is an adenovirus-based vaccine that requires 2 doses, 28 days apart.
- Novavax (NVX-CoV2373). The vaccine produced by Novavax could be approved soon following good performance in Phase III clinical trials in the UK. Clearance in the US will depend on whether US regulators view the UK data as enough for approval. This is a protein-based vaccine that requires 2 doses. Early Phase III results showed 89.3% efficacy.
- Pfizer is working on a pill to treat Covid-19. The drug works similarly to HIV and hepatitis treatments. The pharmaceutical company is expected to release more information in early April.
2. Safety. With several vaccine options currently available and more on the horizon, you might be wondering which one you should get. At BHA, we recommend accepting any vaccine you are offered. If you do have a choice, consider the following information about vaccine safety and side effects:
- All vaccines that are approved by the FDA are deemed to be safe, and studies of the AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines both show high levels of safety. Many people have suffered from side effects, but this is not uncommon with vaccines and is nothing to fear. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been associated with mild side effects, particularly after the second dose, such as fever, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, pain or redness at the injection site. The Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine showed similar side effects, including headache, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, fever.
3. B.1.1.7 (UK) Variant and vaccine data. It’s likely that the UK variant is now the predominant Covid-19 strain in the United States. Interesting research from Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Israel, where the UK variant is responsible for 80% of cases, shows that infections among vaccinated workers have dropped dramatically.
4. Delayed reactions. Some people have reported reactions to the vaccine, such as pain, irritation, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site, up to 7-10 days after receiving the first dose. If you have a delayed reaction, you might be wondering whether or not you should return for the second dose. The answer is yes; delayed side effects have been reported and do not indicate anything abnormal. If you experience any delayed reactions that cause you concern, consult with your primary care physician, but people with mild side effects should still get the second dose of the vaccine.
5. Mask mandates and social distancing post-vaccination. The CDC released a statement allowing those who are fully vaccinated to gather together, indoors, without masks. This does not, however, change the public mask mandate and social distancing rules. Once you are fully vaccinated, you can feel safe with others who are also vaccinated, but you must continue to follow safety measures in public.
The future becomes brighter every day as more people get vaccinated and begin to feel safer. It is vital that we continue to promote vaccination and social distancing measures while Covid-19 is still spreading. If you are eligible for the vaccine and need help arranging an appointment, contact BHA at firstname.lastname@example.org.