The Spanish Cystic Fibrosis Society has published on its website a letter addressed to all the CF collective with the aim of helping to solve some of the many doubts we still have about Covid-19 and its vaccines.
COVID-19 AND VACCINATION
Fortunately, we have turned the page to 2020, a year marked by a pandemic that has wreaked havoc around the world and claimed far too many lives and livelihoods. Without having completely passed the second wave of the virus, we are concerned about the progression of a new peak after Christmas. Please, we would like to emphasize that all safety measures be maintained: safety distance, masks, ventilation and hand washing, especially.
The arrival of the vaccine in record time is a lifeline out of this terrible pandemic and will give us a chance to finally beat the virus. We are all anxious for the opportunity to get vaccinated. The goal is to vaccinate all citizens. In the face of the general concern and doubts that reach the Society, we want to inform you about the current situation.
Two vaccines have been approved so far, Pfizer and Moderna, although there are many in the pipeline that are completing clinical trials. They are similar in that both are messenger RNA vaccines that encode a spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and prime the immune system to develop antibodies against it, so that if subsequently exposed to the virus, the body will recognize this virus protein and generate a rapid and potent immune response against it, effectively eliminating it before it can cause disease.
The vaccine is surprisingly effective in all age groups (to be completed in pediatrics and some at-risk groups) and offers 94-95% protection against infection after two doses. According to studies, 5% of the people who became ill despite the vaccine suffered only mild illnesses. There are transient side effects of the vaccine, such as pain in the arm and symptoms such as fever, fatigue, or headache, reflecting the body creating an immune response, but with an excellent safety profile. Although some severe allergic reactions have been described, these appear to be related to vaccine excipients, so only patients with hypersensitivity to such excipients should be excluded from vaccination with vaccines containing these components. The vaccine does not integrate into your DNA.
The Pfizer vaccine arrived on December 27 and the Moderna vaccine will arrive shortly. The main differences between them are that the Pfizer vaccine must be kept frozen at -80 degrees Celsius (because the mRNA is quite fragile), while the Moderna vaccine requires temperatures of about -20ºC. A first dose will be administered and, about 3-4 weeks after the first dose, the second dose will be administered. Vaccinations will be carried out according to the Ministry’s indications, based on risk factors. Although the rate of vaccination is uncertain at this time, it is likely to continue through 2021 (all this will be subject to change, depending on the rate of arrival of the vaccines and the rate of vaccination).
When and where can I get vaccinated?
At this time, the first groups to be vaccinated are health care workers and nursing home residents.
It will be the expert groups that will determine the sequence of who will be vaccinated and where. Therefore, it is up to us to be patient until we know the recommendations that will be published.
New ways of testing for the presence of the virus in people (nostril, saliva…) are still being studied. None of them has yet demonstrated good effectiveness compared to the standardized ones.
The treatments used are similar in all centers and, in the second and third waves, everything that has been learned from the first waves has been implemented.
There are no clear preventive therapies, except for the recommended safety measures.
Some of you may have heard of a strain that appears to be 70% more contagious that was first identified in England and South Africa. At this time it does not appear more lethal, although it does appear more worrisome in terms of further spread, although it appears to be susceptible to both vaccine and recommended treatments. It is estimated that it could take years for sufficient mutations to evade current vaccines.
From the Scientific Society, we hope that we have been able to clarify some of the many doubts we still have about Covid-19 and its vaccines.
First of all: follow the recommended safety measures and… BE CAREFUL!.
We wish you all the best for 2021.