Know your COVID-19 vaccine before you roll up your sleeves?-By Dr Harold Gunatillake

Harold Gunatillake

Australia will start giving the vaccine by mid-late February starting with the vulnerable people.
Are you prepared to have the vaccine when it comes to your turn. This talk may help you to decide
whether to have the jab or not.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe when it has not undergone adequate testing?
The US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines, in many countries, and so far, it is supposed to be safe, from large clinical trials, except for minor side effects and reactions lasting for a few days in a very few.
In order, for the authorization to be granted, the vaccine manufacturers need to follow-up for at least two months after the trial emergency vaccination, and the vaccine must be proved safe and effective in  the respective population vaccinated.
Dozens of coronavirus vaccines have entered the clinical trials during 2020, and now a handful have been authorized to the public while the developers continue collecting data on their safety and efficacy. In a few months, it is hoped that all these vaccines would have met with all the necessary criteria and the jabs will start with more confidence.
Australia could start vaccinating vulnerable groups of the population next month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed, saying approvals for the Pfizer vaccine were hoped to be finalized by the end of January.
He hopes to vaccinate 80,000 people each week to begin with, and for that to build over the 4 to 6 weeks

Professor Brendan Murphy, secretary of the federal Health Department, said nearly half the Australian population would be included in one of the priority groups to receive the vaccine in the first half of this year.

The rest of the general adult population could expect to receive the vaccine from the middle of the year onwards.
Australia will start with the Pfizer vaccine and follow up with the AstraZeneca.
You can get the jabs from the following places: Established Respiratory clinics General Practices
Special clinics the State health departments will establish Or sites set up by Aboriginal community-controlled health services. Pharmacies will join during the second half of the year.

Minor side effects
Experts still note that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the small risk Anaphylaxis after vaccination is rare, occurring at a rate of about 1.31 per cent per million doses of vaccine administration. Of these 85 percent are people who have allergies.
About nine million people in the United States have received at least one shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine, the two authorized in the United States. So far, serious problems reported were 29 cases of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. None were reported as fatal. Many people have had other side effects like sore arms, fatigue, headache or fever, which are usually transient.
Should people with allergies take the jab?
CDC- Centres for Disease control and prevention recommends that you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, if you have allergies. Australia still has not organized a Centre fo Disease control.
If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling the respective emergency number -000 in Australia.
All vaccination centres will be equipped to treat allergies immediately after the jab. The common injections given are epinephrine just under the skin or EpiPen If you get a allergic reaction after the first dose the CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose.
Some of the mild allergic reactions may occur within 4 hours after getting vaccinated, such as hives, swelling, and wheezing (respiratory distress).
If you have allergies other than to the mRNA vaccine you need to ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated.
People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.
Is the vaccine safe for people with chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes? People with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems like those taking methotrexate to lower your immune reactions, are at greater risk of more serious illness if you are infected with the coronavirus.
So, it is advisable to have the jab in such situations. It is best to get advice from your family doctor. You are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you: have had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy, have had a bone marrow transplant in the past 2 years are on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease have had blood cancer, in the past 5 years, including leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome, are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy, You are at moderate risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you have: chronic kidney (renal) failure, heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
chronic lung disease, excluding mild or moderate asthma had cancer in the past 12 months diabetes, severe obesity with a body mass index of 40 kg/m2 or more, chronic liver disease, some neurological conditions such as stroke or dementia, some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments,other primary or acquired immune-deficiency, poorly controlled hypertension (may increase risk)Your level of risk depends on other factors, including your age, gender and whether you smoke.
So, it is advisable to have the jab if you are within any of the above categories. Sri Lanka will get its quota of vaccines by the Indian state-run company. They will buy vaccines from the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech International Ltd. Only India can satisfy world’s demand for Covid-19 vaccine says Australian Ambassador to India- Barry ’Farrell. This is what he says.
Miami doctor dies after taking Pfizer’s COVID—19 vaccine: CDC launches investigation.
A 56 year-old doctor from Florida died weeks ago after receiving the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech. The cause of his death was ruled to be a rare blood disorder and being still investigated whether there was a link with the vaccine.
According to Ms. Neckelmann, three days after her husband got the vaccine, he developed tiny reddish spots, or petechiae, caused by bleeding under the skin of his hands and feet. Recognizing the spots as a danger sign, he went to the emergency room. A blood test showed the level of his platelets, a blood component essential for clotting, to be at zero, she wrote, and he was admitted into the intensive care unit with a diagnosis of acute immune thrombocytopenia.
In a statement, Pfizer, the maker of the vaccine, said it was “actively investigating” the case, “but we don’t believe at this time that there is any direct connection to the vaccine.” “Any person with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food (such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction, or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline autoinjector) should not receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine,” according to the new MHRA guidance.
The guidance also notes that “resuscitation facilities” should be available for all vaccinations at all times.
It is also reported A head nurse at a hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn., caused a brief scare on Thursday when she fainted shortly after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Four trial volunteers who got Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine developed Bell’s palsy Should you wear a mask after vaccination?
Yes, The two vaccines that will potentially get authorized this month clearly protect people from getting sick with Covid-19. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine  whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. That remains a possibility. We know that people who are naturally infected by the coronavirus can spread it while they’re not experiencing any cough or other symptoms. Researchers will be intensely studying this question as the vaccines roll out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will need to think of themselves as possible spreaders.
The vaccine developed by Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19, a large study found. Needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsiuc The vaccine developed by U.S. biotech company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) also uses mRNA as its base and is estimated to be 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19 Stored at minus 4F The vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is estimated to be about 70% effective at preventing COVID-19 the vaccine was about 62% effective The Chinese company Sinovac Biotech developed a vaccine from an inactivated version of SARS-CoV2. The vaccine, called CoronaVac, efficacy rate is 50.4%, The Indian company Bharat Biotech, along with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology developed a vaccine from an inactivated coronavirus, called Covaxin, the Times reported. The vaccine is given in two doses, spaced four weeks apart, and has been authorized for emergency use in India. It’s efficacy has not been publicly reported. This is the vaccine that Sri Lanka will get.
Dr Fauci calls the 95% efficacy rate of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine “extraordinary.” Does that rate sound impressive to you? Why or why not? Let’s listen to Dr Fauci Hope this video talk was useful. To have the vaccine or not to have it because of the side effects, is a difficult decision. It is more a family decision than a single person. Some may wait for the herd immunity and that is the immunity you get from indirect protection from an
infectious disease that happens when a population is immuine either through vaccination or immunity
developed through previous infections. Attempts to reach ‘herd immunity’ through exposing people to a virus are scientifically problematic and unethical. Letting COVID-19 spread through populations, of any age or health status will lead to unnecessary infections, suffering and death.
Discuss with your family doctor if you have any doubts of getting the vaccine. Stay safe and goodbye for now.

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