Like typical vaccines, the human population used to seeing needles being injected into the upper muscle of your arm, but unlike typical vaccines which introduce inactive or weakened forms of a virus, the COVID-19 vaccine will release genetic material called messenger RNA. mRNA, will then lead into amino acids which make proteins that will help your immune system according to the FDA official website.
The needles contain genetic material for one small part of the vaccine; this information from the mRNA makes spike proteins which are a small part of the coronavirus and are harmless to the human body. Afterwards, your cells will break down this injected mRNA and will create antibodies to handle the real virus if you do happen to get it. Your immune system will get a preview of the virus and be better prepared to handle the virus in the future.
Knowing this information about the vaccine and how it works I asked students in our school how they felt about the vaccine. One of the students who is a junior at Leon, Henry M. , responded by saying, “Okay, for the COVID Vaccine: I’m glad we’re finally getting it of course, and I’m glad that it is being administered efficiently, and largely being administered to health workers first, because they’re the ones who need it the most.”
After they responded to the question, they were asked about how they felt about the side effects of the vaccine. The same student responded, “As of right now, it seems there are no serious side effects, and allergic reactions are rare and not dangerous in the cases where they even happen.”
Even though this might sound great towards humans in helping people survive this virus, the side effects that may occur are concerning. According to an article, “Here’s what you need to know about the side effects from the coronavirus vaccine”, Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says “It’s a sore arm for a day or so for most people. Somewhere between 10 and 30 percent may get more generalized side effects like not feeling terrific for a few hours, having a headache, and, less commonly, having a low-grade fever.”
Right now, FDA officials are saying they are monitoring patients for at least 30 minutes to see if they have any side effects. Dr. Kuritzkes also said, “The only concern is if you have had a severe reaction to another vaccination, then you should really check with your healthcare provider before getting the COVID vaccination.”
As for now, the FDA is trying to learn about the vaccine, anaphylaxis, and Bell’s palsy. “We don’t know whether there are late-appearing side effects. It’s not expected that there would be such effects … but anything is possible,” Susan Ellenberg, a biostatistician at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said to Boston Globe.
It is completely up to you if you want to take this vaccine as it is not government mandated, but this is a very important turning point into fighting this virus once and for all.