Here are some recent questions and my answers regarding the COVID vaccination.
1. I’ve been infected with COVID in the past and recovered. My course was mild. Do I still need the vaccine?
Yes, I would still recommend the vaccine. About 10% of people who were infected with COVID develop a weak antibody response that wears off in approximately 90 days. These are likely the same group of individuals that were reinfected at a later date. We can’t predict who will fall into this spectrum of weak antibody responses, but the milder your previous COVID infection, the more likely you developed a weaker antibody response. Vaccines would protect you and give you the optimal antibody response.
2. I’m scared of the side effects from the vaccine. What will they be?
For most who have received the vaccine, the majority have had very mild symptoms after the first dose. These include arm soreness, fatigue and mild headaches. The second dose has been reported to be more intense for some, including fever, chills, and more intense arm soreness. These have been temporary symptoms and usually resolve within 1-2 days.
3. Will the COVID vaccine protect me against the new mutant strain?
As of now, the Pfizer vaccine appears to still offer protection against the mutant strain. I would extrapolate from this and assume Moderna would do the same as they work with similar mechanisms. I will keep you updated if new information comes out.
4. If I have active COVID right now, how long should I wait before getting the vaccine?
It’s probably safe to assume you can wait up to 90 days, since reinfection is rare prior to that. But you can get it sooner. According to CDC guidelines, you should wait at least 10 days until symptom onset and at least 24 hours from last symptom resolution.
5. How long will the vaccine protect me?
We hope that it will offer protection for at least 1-2 years. We have this hope since previous vaccines to COVID19’s cousins (SARS and MERS) offered protection for up to 1-2 years. We won’t know for sure until we get more data.