Theis now being distributed nationwide (discover ). For the vast majority of people, the has in large-scale clinical trials. However, as with any new drug, there is also an abundance of caution – especially for people who have had side effects from vaccines in the past.
Experts have advised certain groups of people to take special precautions when receiving the drugsuch as staying on site for a while after you receive the injection so that medical professionals can monitor any reactions. A doctor has also identified an even smaller number of people who he says should postpone the vaccine altogether; other experts, however, disagree.
But what about pregnant or nursing moms and those with everyday allergies to things like pollen or pet hair? Patients with other medical conditions? For these groups and others, the Pfizer vaccine is considered safe to take, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which approved it in an emergency. Kids are a completely different story though (keep reading to find out why).
Here we gather available data from the FDA along with information from leading health experts to present a guide on who is advised to take the Pfizerand who should consult their medical professional earlier. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about this .
When will there be a COVID-19 vaccine for children?
Currently, Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is approved for use in people 16 years of age and older. That’s partly because of the dozens of COVID-19 vaccines in development, including those from Pfizer, none have yet been tested in children 12 and younger. Vaccines are usually tested in adults first before researchers begin testing in children, once the drug has been determined to be relatively safe.
Another factor is that COVID-19 mainly seems to protect children from the worst outcomes. A September CDC report counted just 121 children among the 190,000 people who had died of the coronavirus to date. Other research has found that children contract and spread coronavirus about half as much as adults, although they are still considered vectors in the spread of COVID-19, especially among high-risk populations. For example, a report from the CDC this summer highlighted a summer camp in Georgia where coronavirus was rampant, with the result that more than 250 children and young adults tested positive for it.
Moderna will soon begin pediatric clinical trials involving children ages 12 through 17, the company announced in early December. That is a good sign. Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is on the eve of FDA approval, meaning children could get a COVID-19 vaccine option sooner rather than later if it is shown to be just as safe and effective for minors.
Should People With Allergies Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
In the UK, on the first day of administration of the Pfizer vaccine, doctors observed two patients who had severe allergic reactions to the drug. Now UK doctors are being told to monitor patients for 15 minutes after vaccine administration to make sure they don’t have similar reactions. Two health workers in Alaska had similar reactions, one of whom was hospitalized for two days of observation.
The FDA recognizes that such complications are rare, but possible, and that some people may have an allergic reaction to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The agency’s fact sheet on the vaccine reads, in part, “A severe allergic reaction usually occurs within a few minutes to an hour after a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered.” Next, various signs and symptoms of such an allergic reaction are displayed:
- Breathing problems
- Swelling of the face and throat
- A fast heartbeat
- A rash on the whole body
- Dizziness and weakness
If you have had allergies in the past, you can expect to be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.
The FDA also recommends that you don’t use the Pfizer vaccine if you’ve ever had a severe reaction to any of these ingredients:
- Lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl) azanediyl) bis (hexane-6,1-diyl) bis (2-hexyl decanoate) 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N, N-ditetradecylacetamide 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine and cholesterol)
- Potassium Chloride
- Monobasic potassium phosphate
- Sodium Chloride
- Dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
You may still be able to use the vaccine even if you have had allergic reactions in the past.
In the most up-to-date guidelines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reflects the FDA by stating that just because you have had a serious allergic reaction after being vaccinated in the past does not automatically stop you from fighting against COVID to be vaccinated. -19.
“These individuals can still be vaccinated, but they need to be educated about the unknown risks of developing a serious allergic reaction and weigh those risks against the benefits of vaccination,” the CDC said on its website.
Can you use the vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the FDA leaves the decision whether or not to take the COVID-19 vaccine to you and your doctor. Regulators in the UK have so far advised against it until the vaccine can be tested on pregnant and breastfeeding women (no clinical studies have been conducted for this group so far). While the vaccine has yet to be investigated in breastfeeding and pregnant women, many scientists believe that the vaccine is generally safe and that the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
How will I be protected against COVID-19 if I cannot take a vaccine?
If you are a patient with a health condition that your doctor does not recommend getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you may have to wait until enough people in the US have been vaccinated to protect yourself. Even if you don’t take a vaccine yourself, being surrounded by adequately vaccinated people – what is known as “herd immunity” – may provide some level of protection against the coronavirus. But that takes time.
To initiate that process, the best thing you can do now is follow the CDC’s safety guidelines: always wear a mask when you are indoors (except in your own home),, and always keep at least six feet away from people you don’t live with when you go out.
It will take a while for life to return to normal. To get an idea of how long, take a look at this timeline of when different groups can do that. Several coronavirus vaccines are likely to be rolled out in the coming months, and will also help you determine when to take it. And last but not least, where you can get the vaccine.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.