The United States offers COVID-19 vaccinations from four manufacturers: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and Novavax. Because of the persistence of vaccine-related myths, it’s essential that you get your questions about vaccines answered by experts who can point you in the right scientific direction.

More and more evidence from scientists and doctors shows that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and the greatest method to protect our loved ones and our communities. This is the most up-to-date data on COVID-19 vaccinations, and it is important that you and your loved ones understand it.

Are There Requirements to Receive the Shot?

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The CDC recommends a COVID-19 immunization for everyone aged 6 months and up.

The FDA has given its official blessing to the two-dose Pfizer vaccination for people 16 and older, and it has issued a EUA for youngsters 6 months to 15 years old. To protect those 18 and up, a EUA will pay for either the two-dose Moderna vaccination or the single-dose J&J vaccine. The age range for Moderna immunization is 6 months to 17 years. Novavax has also received a EUA from the FDA for use in individuals 12 and up.

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In most cases, it’s preferable to use a vaccine manufactured by Pfizer or Moderna rather than one manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. Those allergic to Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or unable to get them can now get the J&J vaccine.

The CDC recommends booster vaccines for everyone over 5 and under 17.

Those already fully immunized between the ages of 18 and 35 can choose between a booster dosage of the Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J vaccine. Those aged 5 to 17 who had the Pfizer vaccination can obtain a Pfizer booster dose. Nonetheless, Pfizer and Moderna are now again the preferred boosters.

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Talk to your doctor about switching up your booster dose with a different vaccine brand if they think it might be beneficial. Vaccines can be “mixed and matched,” as the CDC and FDA put it. Pfizer vaccine is recommended for the initial two doses, but a third dosage is necessary for children aged 5-17. If a child receives the Moderna vaccination as part of the primary series, they won’t require any more booster shots.

What Age Group Should Get the COVID-19 Shot?

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Positive COVID-19 tests had been reported from over 6.5 million youngsters by the end of November 2021. Children currently account for approximately one-quarter of all COVID-19 cases; while they accounted for only 16.7 percent of all cases during the pandemic, they accounted for nearly one-third of all cases in the week before November 4, 2021.

Pfizer and Moderna both offer vaccines for infants as young as six months of age. At this time, the J&J vaccine is only available to adults. Both Pfizer and Moderna started testing their COVID-19 vaccinations in kids aged 6 months to 12 years old in March 2021. As of June 2022, Pfizer and Moderna’s different vaccine formulations for infants and toddlers aged 6 months and up were available to the public. Novavax was made available to persons aged 12 and up in August 2022, and trials with younger children are scheduled to begin soon.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics both agree that COVID-19 vaccinations should not be given to children who are too young. The correct dosing and other safety issues can only be established using data acquired from clinical trials, and these trials must explicitly include children.

The Effects of COVID-19 are generally milder in youngsters. Many other factors could account for this occurrence, as was discussed in a review published in the BMJ Archives of Disease in Childhood in December 2020.

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The idea was put up that children’s immune systems are more easily stimulated due to the prevalence of recurrent viral infections during childhood. There is also the possibility that adults are exposed to higher concentrations of the virus in the course of their daily lives at work or during errand running, whereas children may be infected with a lower viral load. Milder symptoms have been linked to lower virus loads.

The safe return to normalcy requires immediate action, and kid vaccination is a crucial part of that.

Can Children Spend Time With Vaccinated Adults?

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Some households are wary about allowing their children to spend time with vaccinated grandparents. The vaccination itself is not infectious and cannot spread the disease. Neither live nor killed whole-cell viruses are used in any of the vaccines. Therefore, there is zero risk that the vaccine recipient, or anyone in close proximity to them, will contract COVID-19 via the vaccine.

The amount to which a vaccinated person can spread COVID-19 is the subject of ongoing research. The effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing further spread has shown early signs of promise. Even though fully vaccinated people with breakthrough cases can be contagious, it appears that they distribute the virus for a shorter amount of time than unvaccinated people, at least when it comes to highly infectious forms.

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Children are not immune to contracting and spreading the virus. In addition, the vaccines are not foolproof; even after receiving all the recommended doses, there is still a small chance that a person would contract COVID-19.

In public settings, those who have not been vaccinated should take extra measures to protect their health, including wearing a mask, keeping their distance, and washing their hands frequently. When local transmission rates are high, the CDC recommends that even vaccinated individuals take precautions by wearing a mask in busy indoor places.

Can a Vaccine Be Given to a Breastfeeding Mother?

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Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for pregnant and lactating women by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other leading U.S. medical organizations.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were determined to pose no significant dangers to pregnant women in a trial including 35,691 participants. Vaccination outcomes during the first trimester of pregnancy were not included in the self-reported data from the CDC’s V-safe smartphone-based monitoring system or the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

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There is currently no data suggesting that the COVID vaccination increases risk during pregnancy. Although the risk of severe COVID-19 infection is modest in absolute terms, statistics reveal that pregnant women who exhibit symptoms are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 than non-pregnant persons.

Among pregnant women, there appears to be an increased risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19 if you are of African or Latinx descent. Pregnancy increases the likelihood of contracting a life-threatening condition. Furthermore, COVID-19 infection during pregnancy raises the chance of premature birth and might raise the risk for other negative pregnancy outcomes. By getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you can avoid getting really sick.

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It’s possible that some vaccines would be safer than others for you to get while pregnant. Concerns about an uncommon form of a blood clot forming in approximately six out of 6.8 million vaccine recipients led the CDC and FDA to suspend the J&J vaccination campaigns in early April 2021. After a comprehensive safety evaluation, the FDA and CDC withdrew the hold; however, the J&J vaccine is now only recommended for certain populations.

Most recent studies suggest that the J&J vaccine poses no increased risk for blood clots in pregnant or recently pregnant women. However, the CDC warns that women under the age of 50 should be aware of the extremely low risk of blood clots linked with the J&J vaccination, noting that this risk has not been seen with other vaccines.

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Researchers observed that antibodies against coronavirus were transmitted from mother to child across the placenta in 87% of instances in a study published in JAMA Pediatrics in January 2021. To determine whether or if immunizations might have a comparable effect, more study is required.

What Effect Might the COVID-19 Vaccines Have on Procreation?

One’s fertility will not be affected in any way by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. A November news article planted the seed for this myth when it said the “chief of Pfizer research” had referred to the company’s vaccination for women as “female sterilization.”

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Since 2011, the accused employee in question has not worked for Pfizer, and he has never been involved in the development of vaccines, so the assertion is false and misrepresents what was actually said.

The myth claims that antibodies produced in reaction to the vaccine will somehow target the placenta because a protein in the placenta, synctin-1, may resemble the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Another study, released in 2021, indicated that COVID immunization had no effect on male fertility.

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Twenty-five participants’ sperm were tested before and after immunization, and the results showed no significant changes in sperm parameters.

To sum up, there is zero proof that any of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on fertility.

Vaccines’ Possible Side Effects

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The existing COVID vaccine options have possible side effects similar to those of other vaccines. Common adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccinations include, as reported by the CDC:

  • Fatigue, headache, chills, fever, and nausea similar to the flu for two days.
  • Aching muscles.
  • Arm pain, redness, and edema.

It’s possible that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations, even when given at the same time, will have distinct effects on you.

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All injections require a 15-minute observation period in the presence of medical staff, during which time any severe responses can be detected. To lessen the severity of negative effects, you can:

  • Covering the injection site with a cold towel.
  • Not wearing any tight clothing near the injection location.
  • Taking in a lot of fluids.
  • After you’ve got the shot, you should move your arm.

Timely Medical Consultation

If you experience any pain after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you should discuss the use of over-the-counter pain medicines with your doctor. You should see a doctor if:

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On the second day, the pain or redness worsened. You’re worried about your side effects, or they haven’t gone away after a few days. Potential COVID vaccine side effects may be annoying, but contracting the virus is much worse.

From an individual and social standpoint, the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks. Everyone wants to stop the epidemic, and being vaccinated is the first step toward that goal.

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