Covid vaccine

Before getting the covid-19 vaccine…

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There are imperative things you ought to know in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not you’re going for the jab.

Slightly over a year ago, it reared its ugly head like a storm…

And a wave of disease, death, and destruction swept across the globe.

According to Statista, as of February 19, 2021, confirmed and presumptive positive cases of Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 28 million in the U.S., with over 505, 000 deaths reported.

There isn’t one corner of the globe that this pandemic’s wrath has not impacted…

And even though it might be hard to imagine any good news coming out of such a real life horror story, there is a glimmer of hope and light on the horizon.

As life seemed to be spiraling out of control, something was happening backstage. The best medical research brains in the world were pouring everything they knew into developing a vaccine that would protect us from the invisible, but lethal enemy.

And now…it is here!

However, as with everything new…and especially vaccines–there are always lots of questions and plenty of considerations to make.

The basic premise behind Covid vaccinations is to teach your body to recognize and fight off the virus.

The CDC is recommending the following groups of people to get the vaccine first:

  • Healthcare personnel
  • Adult residents in long-term care facilities
  • Essential persons like first responders and teachers
  • People 75 years of age and above
  • People aged 65-74
  • people aged 16-64 with underlying medical conditions
  • Other essential persons who work in industries such as food service and construction

Please note that the above guidelines may vary from one country to another, or by state in the U.S.

The available vaccines use the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology…

Meaning the vaccines–Pfizer, Moderna, J&J among others, do not use the live virus that causes Covid-19.

Contrary to what you may have heard about these vaccines, mRNA does not enter the cells’ nucleus, which means it can’t alter the DNA.

In this case, cells receive instructions on how to make a harmless protein unique to the virus. Once copies of the protein are made, the genetic material from the vaccine is destroyed…

And in response to the protein, the body makes T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that fight off the Covid-19 virus if an infection occurs.

According to medical experts, there are two pieces of welcome news about mRNA vaccines:

  • Adjuvants–chemical adjuvants are ingredients that are added to traditional vaccines to stimulate a stronger immune response…

And since mRNA vaccines work differently than traditional vaccines, they do not require the same adjuvants. So, the ingredient list is “leaner” than in many traditional vaccines.

  • Preservatives–mRNA is an unstable molecule that requires extremely cold temperatures to maintain its integrity. The cold temperatures reduce the need for extra preservatives that are required in traditional vaccines.

According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), persons with the following conditions should not be vaccinated with mRNA vaccines:

  • If you have had a serious allergic reaction or immediate reaction to any vaccine ingredient, you should not get the vaccine. This includes a reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate. And even though polysorbate is not in any of the vaccines mentioned above, it’s closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines
  • If you have a severe allergic reaction or an immediate allergic reaction after the first dose, you should not get another injection even if the reaction was not severe. Examples of an immediate reaction include hives, swelling, or wheezing occurring within 4 hours of vaccination.

Note: If you have had a severe allergic reaction to injectables in the past, you can still get the vaccine, but you need to be monitored for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine.

What if you have an underlying condition?

If you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes or hypertension, the CDC advises that you can still get the vaccine as long as you have not had a reaction to a Covid-19 vaccine or any of its ingredients.

There is, however, very little information about the safety profile of the vaccine in people who have autoimmune disorders, or a weakened immune system.

What if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding?

Since there is no data on the safety of the vaccine in pregnant or breastfeeding women, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider before considering the jab.

What about those who have already been infected with Covid-19?

If you have already been infected, the vaccines may help prevent re-infection in the future…

And because it’s unknown how long hard immunity lasts after getting the Covid-19 infection, the CDC recommends vaccination 90 days after the initial diagnosis.

Possible Reactions to Covid-19 Vaccines

The following reactions are possible after the first or second vaccine injection:

  • Swelling, pain, or redness at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Fever (remember, this is an indication that your immune system is working)
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Malaise (general feeling of unwellness)
  • Nausea and vomiting

Something important for women to note

It’s common for axillary (armpit) lymph nodes to become enlarged on the side where the vaccine was administered. The enlargement can persist for several weeks after the injection…

And because axillary lymph node enlargement can also occur in breast cancer, this otherwise minor side effect can strike fear in many women after the vaccination.

Consequently, many experts are now recommending that women avoid hurried testing and delay mammograms for at least one month after getting a Covid-19 vaccine to allow the enlarged lymph nodes time to subside.

It’s important to note that getting the Covid-19 vaccine may cause some side effects similar to symptoms of the virus. If you have been exposed to Covid-19 and you develop symptoms more than 3 days after being vaccinated, or if your symptoms persist for 2 or more days–quarantine and get tested.

Any long-term side effects?

Vaccine trials started in the summer of 2020…

And because of this, there is no available data on long-term side effects–the contagion is a new phenomenon the world is responding to rapidly.

To stay abreast of all the safety data surrounding the vaccines, you can visit the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. This site avails data to the public.

Do you need to prepare for a Covid-19 Vaccine?

There is a lot of misinformation doing the rounds out there about what you should do before a Covid-19 vaccination…

And it’s imperative at this point to separate facts from fiction.

Sample what experts are saying:

According to Aaron E. Glatt, MD and hospital epidemiologist and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, NY, there is nothing specific a person needs to do before taking the vaccine other than reporting any previous serious allergic reactions.

Blanka Kaplan, MD, is a specialist in adult and pediatric allergy and immunology at Northwell Health in Great Neck, NY. According to Kaplan, if you take allergy medications, you should not stop taking them before being vaccinated.

Kaplan also advises against taking any kind of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin 2 hours before and after vaccination–unless instructed otherwise by your physician. These drugs may cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Kaplan’s additional advice includes avoiding alcohol 24 hours after vaccination, and avoiding strenuous exercise 2 hours before and after vaccination.

Also, skip the hot shower 2 hours before and after vaccination as it can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

What should You do to support a Healthy Immune System?

  • Stay hydrated–hydration is fundamental to keeping your immune system healthy. If you’re a coffee drinker, take an extra glass of water for every cup of coffee you drink. Choose purified water and herbal tea.
  • Eat right–a whole food diet will keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Avoid sugar-laden drinks, refined vegetable oil snacks, and munch on some carrots and hummus instead. The more colorful your diet, the better. Include delicious fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and healthy fat.
  • Sleep well–adopt a healthy sleeping routine. Studies show that people who do not get enough sleep are more likely to get sick when exposed to a common cold virus…

Not only that, a lack of sleep can also impact how fast you recover once you’re taken ill. Try to go to bed early and get at least 6-8 hours of quality sleep. Put away the blue light electronics an hour before bedtime and sleep in a cool, dark room.

  • Stay active–regular exercise is vital to your overall well-being and a robust immune system. Exercise helps increase circulation, allowing cells and other substances of the immune system to move around the body and execute their job.
  • Manage stress–being in a constant state of stress can take its toll on your mental and physical health, and impede proper immune function…

Although small bouts of stress may induce immune function, chronic stress does the exact opposite by causing inflammation and lowering lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that help keep infections at bay.

If you battle chronic stress, try to adopt some healthy stress-inhibiting habits like journaling, exercising, deep breathing, yoga, and spending time in nature.

The way forward…

As more vaccine variants continue to get the requisite regulatory approvals…and as data keep trickling from the vaccines currently being administered, coupled with continuing research, many puzzles will get unraveled and knowledge about covid-19 crystallize

In the interim…

Continue practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and wearing a mask while in public…

And most importantly, always get your information from credible and impeccable sources, including your professional healthcare giver.

Share this article widely to clear any misconceptions and inspire as many people as possible to get the jab.

Thank you most sincerely for your unwavering patronage.

Stay tuned for more…

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