As we celebrate the FDA approving two COVID-19 vaccines recently, many questions have arisen. Here are some thoughts from the MVP team. If you have any other questions, please reach out to your pediatrician.
What is the COVID vaccine?
The COVID vaccine is using mRNA. Previously most vaccines have used weakened or an inactive segment of virus to stimulate the body to make antibodies. A mRNA vaccine uses stands of viral messenger RNA to stimulate the immune system to make parts of the COVID-19 spike protein coat and thus trigger the body to make antibodies against the virus. Therefore, there is no chance of developing COVID from the vaccine. Two doses are needed to get significant antibody production, although some antibodies are made after the first dose. The vaccine is thought to be between 90-95% effective.
Was the COVID vaccine rushed?
No, although things were definitely expedited due to the pandemic. mRNA vaccines have been studied for decades. Due to the public health emergency, more resources were able to be dedicated to vaccine development and manufacturing. The vaccines still had to go thru large clinical trials and FDA approval.
Can you get the COVID vaccine while breastfeeding?
Both the CDC and ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) recommend that the COVID vaccine be offered to women who are nursing and/or pregnant and that lactation status not deter getting the vaccine. Numerous frontline workers who are nursing mothers have already received the vaccine and this will continue to be followed so by the time most of the general public gets the vaccine even more data will be available.
Can children get the COVID vaccine?
Currently the COVID vaccine has not been studied in children under the age of 16. As more studies are published we are confident they will start to focus on younger children.
If you previously had COVID, should you get the vaccine?
The recommendation is yes since it is unknown how long antibodies from a previous infection would/will protect you in the future. We are seeing some individuals who have consistently high antibody titers months later and other individuals whose titers disappear quickly.
Once you have the vaccine do you still have to wear a mask?
Sadly at this time the answer is yes. The vaccine protects against the serious symptoms of COVID. However, it is still possible to be an asymptomatic carrier so to protect others you should wear a mask. Also since the vaccine is only approximately 95% effective it is smart to not risk your own health.
Will the MVP providers be getting the vaccine when offered?
YES! We are so excited for this amazing feat of science and looking to help end this pandemic. As pediatricians, we realize the importance of vaccinations in regards to public health and the health of ourselves and our families.