Speed Response Series
Q: Do vaccinated people transmit at the same level as unvaccinated?
- You are FAR LESS likely to be infected with Covid-19 if you are fully vaccinated.
- While transmission was not an end point in the clinical trials, we do also see that vaccinated are less likely to transmit.
- Data shows that even if you are infected, you clear the virus more quickly if you are vaccinated vs unvaccinated. Vaccinated people are less contagious over time.
- New data also shows that fully vaccinated people with Covid-19 infection are less likely to infect their close contacts than unvaccinated.
Q: Do we need to worry about long-term side effects with vaccines?
- With vaccines, we see any side effects within 8 weeks of getting the vaccine.
- This is because vaccines work differently than other medications, they don’t linger and are removed from your body quickly.
- Vaccines work by training your immune system. So once they do their job, the rest of the work is done by your immune system. By 8 weeks, the immune response stabilizes and your immune system goes back to baseline.
- This is also why most vaccine side effects are typically immune-mediated.
Q: How do vaccines work?
- When your body encounters a new disease-causing organism, it takes a while to ramp up the immune defense system. This allows the organism to cause damage to the body.
- But, when you vaccinate, you put a small amount of the inactivated/weakened disease-causing organism into the body, so that the body ramps up an immune response against it.
- So later if you body comes across it, it recognizes, responds immediately to fights it.
- Vaccines provide protection because they cause your immune system to make antibodies and memory cells, so that when you’re exposed to the real infection your immune system can quickly protect you.
How to counter ‘Do your research?’
- We cannot form opinions based on individual publications or studies but instead need to look at the totality of evidence.
- All data is not created equally. There is a hierarchy of evidence based on type, quality, robustness and statistical power.
- Consensus guidelines and recommendations are a huge undertaking and not made lightly. They are the very definition of evidence based and involve robust literature searches, comb through all the data and formulate the recommendations taking into account the entirety and quality of information available.
- A Google search is simply not research.
How to counter ‘I trust my immune system, so I don’t need a vaccine?’
- We give vaccines because we trust our immune system!
- Vaccines provide protection by getting your immune system to make antibodies and memory cells, so that when you’re exposed to the real infection your immune system can quickly protect you. All the hard work is done by your own immune system.
- But remember that it is your own uncontrolled and impaired innate and adaptive immune response that causes Covid-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after an infection.
- Important to guide our immune response to have a measured response.
What are some of the reasons to vaccinate adolescents?
- Studies show the benefits of vaccinating adolescents far outweigh the risks in terms of hospitalization, death and long Covid.
- Risk of myocarditis has been found to be much higher with Covid-19 infections vs vaccinations.
- Indirect benefits of vaccinations will reduce onward transmission to household members, especially if immunocompromised or too young to be immunized.
- Will allow us to get closer to herd immunity and offer community wide transmission.
- Will reduce the disruption of education or time with friends by reducing outbreaks and subsequent isolation/closures.