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The first coronavirus vaccines have shipped, with the first shots administered likely this week. The beginning of the end of the pandemic is here. And with it comes some questions, particularly about the effect of the vaccine on the body. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on News 12's The New Normal to discuss the vaccine's side effects—and revealed who should not take it. Read on to hear his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Says Anyone With a "History of a Severe Allergic Reaction" Should Not Take it At This Time
First of all, Dr. Fauci says the side effects are usually not severe at all. "Generally, the most common reaction is what you see with most, any other vaccine: a sore arm, a little bit, you might feel a little bit fatigued and down for 24 hours to 36 hours at the most; a small percentage of the people might get a fever that would last for 24 hours. You take a Tylenol, you can take care of that without much problem, with the safety of severe adverse events is really very good. And the 30,000 people in the Moderna trial and the 44,000 people in the Pfizer trial, there were really no severe adverse events."
In the U.K., where the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been available since last week, two medical workers who have a history of extreme allergic reactions had an adverse reaction after receiving the new vaccine. Each of them demonstrated symptoms of anaphylactoid reaction, leading U.K. authorities to advise anyone with that condition to not take the vaccine. Fauci was asked if he agrees with that directive.
"I do. I do," he said. "We are very carefully monitoring these things. And when we see something like an allergic reaction, you modify the recommendation and you say that someone who has a history of a severe allergic reaction, that those individuals don't get vaccinated now with this product, or if they do get vaccinated, they do it in a location that has the capability of responding to an allergic reaction. You just don't want to go and get in a place that has no capability."
Officially, the FDA says "you should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine if you:
had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine
had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of this vaccine."
So what's in the vaccine? Says the FDA: "The Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 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, and sucrose."
Dr. Fauci is Fighting Back Skepticism of the Vaccine
The doctor was asked how he can convince Americans to take the vaccine; many remain skeptical. Thirty-two percent of those in a new NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist College poll said they would not take the vaccine. "Well, what you need to do is what we're trying to do—is to go through the steps of how the vaccine was produced, tested, and then the evaluation was made, whether or not it was safe and effective and in each and every one of those steps where there is skepticism and concern, I think you can counter it with a real firm argument," answered Fauci. "First of all, some people say it was so quick, you just found out about this new disease in January. How could you possibly have a vaccine available to inject into people into December, which would be less than a year? And this is a good answer to that in that the process is the quickest we've ever done in history, but that's the course of the extraordinary advances in the techniques of the scientific basis for the platform technology that's used to make the vaccine."
As for yourself, follow his fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live, until we've reached herd immunity—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.