As two COVID-19 vaccines are now approved for emergency use, a lot of misinformation and concerns are being spread around the vaccine.
If you get your news from uncertified social media pages, as many Lebanese do, you are exposed to a daily dose of hoaxes, rumors, conspiracy theories, and misleading news.
Unlike other countries where governments actively try to combat misinformation, the Lebanese society has been feeding into second-hand knowledge with no science backing it up.
With that being said, we gathered vital research regarding the COVID-19 vaccines that will combat misinformation and popular concerns, easing your mind into making the right decision.
What You Need To Know About The Vaccines
Currently, there are 60 vaccines in clinical development and 172 in pre-clinical development. Clinical means they have begun the rounds of tests that are usually referred to as Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III.
These are not kept in the dark, and lengthy information can be found with just one click on the internet. As for pre-clinical vaccines, the labeling simply means that they are still in the lab being tested and developed.
There are two separate vaccines that have received FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approval, which are Pfizer and Moderna. Both of which passed a panel of experts with a unanimous vote of approval.
According to Stat News, the Pfizer vaccine showed efficacy of 95% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection, while the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective.
The United State’s FDA is not the only government organization that has approved both vaccines. Canada, UK, European Union, Japan, and South Korea have all approved and purchased the vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a national public health institute in the United States, has released an initial framework for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Here’s what distribution is expected to look like, provided there are no issues with supply:
The vaccine will be given first to high-risk individuals and front line workers. If you are in the 18-45 age bracket with no heart, blood, or immuno-suppressing disease, you are likely to be the last to receive the vaccine.
“The vaccine was produced way too fast!”
A lavish amount of private and public funds were poured into the production of a vaccine, and almost all countries pre-ordered the vaccines, which tremendously increased the available funds.
You can’t say ‘Pfizer’ without mentioning BioNTech. However, while they are categorized under the same umbrella, they are two separate units with a large amount of funds under their fingertips. This gave them the opportunity to work on a significant number of volunteer test subjects.
“Why did it get approved so fast?”
While the approval was fast, it did not stem from hastiness. The vaccine was still widely tested for both safety and efficacy.
Dr. Jill Weatherhead, an infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine, has a clear explanation in that regard:
“The data has been reviewed by independent reviewers to ensure safety. While it seems like these vaccines were made quickly, we must remember that this technology of vaccines has been in development for years and has been well studied by scientists around the world.”
“What about the side effects?”
According to the FDA, the most common side effects among participants in both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna phase 3 clinical trials were injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever.
These side effects can be found in just about any medication on the market, even ones we consume on a daily basis.
“If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to take the vaccine?”
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had a COVID-19 infection. You should not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated.
Finally, these vaccines are confirmed to be absolutely safe. This is a weapon that we now have in our hands to control this wide-spread pandemic which virus continues to scaringly mutate.
Think about it, if people receive the vaccine when it is their turn, we have an opportunity to control the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all, putting a halt to the rates of casualties, the crisis of overwhelmed ICUs, dreadful lockdowns, travel impediments, and the collapsing economy in the country.
We have a dedicated coronavirus section where you can find the latest news/updates about the pandemic in Lebanon, inform yourself with WHO-verified resources, and track the number of cases in Lebanon in real-time. Click here.