ADPH answers questions about COVID-19 vaccines

Clearing up confusion over COVID vaccines

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Clinical trials for Pfizer and Moderna are showing promising results.

Last week, Pfizer said its vaccine is more than 90% effective, and on Monday Moderna announced its shot is nearly 95% effective. But with this good news comes some skepticism, and that’s why the Alabama Department of Public Health is clearing up some confusion.

Two of the leading coronavirus vaccine candidates delivered promising news about their vaccines.

And while most people are getting excited, there is a lot we don’t know about these shots, like whether they prevent infection or produce antibodies that keep us safe if we get infected.

“A person receives a vaccine so that their body can form immunity, if you will, to the agent that causes the disease, then your body should be able to mount immunity to fight off or prevent you from developing that disease,” said District Medical Officer of ADPH, Dr. Karen Landers.

She said no vaccine is 100% effective and it’s too soon to tell how long the vaccines will last.

“At least for the two products that appear to be the frontrunners at the moment, we know that two doses will need to be given as the initial series, but whether or not further doses will need to be given again is still yet to be determined,” Dr. Landers said.

We also don’t know when a vaccine for children will be available, and scientists had trouble diversifying the pool of candidates.

“At least in one of the products the diversity profile was over 40% which is excellent because we need diversity in these vaccine trials. Now in terms of the other product it does appear that the diversity pool was smaller,” Dr. Landers explained.

Other questions people have about the vaccines are if they will hurt, and what are the side effects.

Moderna says about 10% of the patients felt “fatigue” after taking the vaccine, and a small number experienced some pain and headaches.

Participants also complained about soreness at the injection site.

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