Key facts about COVID-19 vaccines

Doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Newark, New Jersey, on June 19, 2021. The vaccine is one of three types available in Jordan, all of which use a different method to p
Doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Newark, New Jersey, on June 19, 2021. The vaccine is one of three types available in Jordan, all of which use a different method to protect against COVID-19. (Photo: NYTimes)
AMMAN — So far, around 2.61 million Jordanians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 1.63 million have been fully inoculated, constituting 16 percent of the population, Oxford University’s Our World in Data initiative reports.اضافة اعلان

Currently, six different vaccines are available in Jordan — the three most common being Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm
Various debates and rumors surrounding the vaccine have sprung up in recent months, making some Jordanians uneasy and reluctant to take it.

For this reason, we are compiling key facts about vaccines and how they work.

How do vaccines work?
There are several methods through which vaccines can work. The 4 most common ones are:

Inactivated or weakened virus vaccines: A weakened or inactive form of the virus that does not cause disease (Sinopharm).
Protein-based vaccines: Harmless fragments of proteins or protein shells.

Viral vector vaccines: A non-disease-causing virus that carries proteins of the COVID virus (AstraZeneca).

RNA and DNA vaccines: Genetically engineered RNA or DNA that generates a harmless protein on immune cells (Pfizer).

Although the vaccines may have different methods of working, they all achieve the same goal of eliciting an immune response.

When a body is injected with the vaccine — regardless of the type — it immediately gets to working on identifying and eliminating the intruder. In doing so, the body develops antibodies, which remember the shape and features of the intruder and allow it to fight it off quicker and stronger the next time.

Simply put, the vaccines work by having a similar shape and features as the coronavirus and forcing us to produce antibodies that will fight the virus if we ever come into contact with it.

Which is better?
All COVID-19 vaccines approved and currently being administered in the country have proven to be effective in protecting against the virus. There are currently clinical trials and studies available that assess the efficacy (how well a drug works) of the different COVID-19 vaccines. However, medical science is constantly subject to change as more studies and trials are conducted.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm have respective efficacy rates of 95 percent, 63.09 percent, and 79 percent against symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Side effects of the vaccines
Generally speaking, the COVID-19 vaccines share similar side effects and are all relatively minor and safe. Symptoms of the vaccines include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, bone and joint pain, headaches, pain in the injection spot, arm numbness, diarrhea, shortness of breath, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, ear symptoms, and sore throat.

Side effects are completely normal for all vaccines and simply mean that the body is working hard to fight off the intruder and protect itself against it.

A recently published Jordanian article titled “Side Effects Reported by Jordanian Healthcare Workers Who Received COVID-19 Vaccines” compares Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines with a complete breakdown of the side effects for each one.

The study finds that Sinopharm has the least amount of side effects, hence dubbed the “quiet vaccine,” as it was “significantly associated with symptom-free vaccination.” On the other hand, AstraZeneca was found to be most correlated to severe side effects (side effects were exhibited in more than 90 percent of vaccine recipients), and, finally, Pfizer was significantly associated with local side effects (exhibited in 46 percent of Pfizer vaccine recipients). Regardless, the study found that on average, side effects only lasted 1.39 days.

“Until now vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 have been influenced by rumors, suspicions, hesitancy, and refusal.

There was also exaggeration and over-reporting of adverse effects of vaccines, as some of these effects are normal physiologic processes or developmental anomalies that cannot be related in any way to any drug and definitely not to vaccines. Some reported side effects are either normal physiologic processes such as teething,
while others could be developmental conditions such as fissured tongue,” the article read.

Read more Lifestyle