With the COVID-19 pandemic not slowing to a stop anytime soon, there are now various clinical trials for different COVID-19 vaccines. Approval of these vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can take up to years, but given the urgency to stop the spread of the coronavirus, so far, the Philippine FDA has authorized the emergency use of one COVID-19 vaccine. We compiled everything you need to know – the approved vaccines, the available ones for kids, and if it would be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms.
1. The Different Types of Vaccines
Clinical trials for the Pfizer Vaccine have shown that the vaccine already starts working after the first dose, and has had an efficacy rate of 95% after 7 days of administering the second dose. The vaccine has only been tested on participants 16 years old and above and it requires two injections that are 21 days apart.
On the other hand, the Moderna Vaccine data has proven to have a 94.1% efficacy rate and its clinical trials were conducted on 18 year olds. This type of vaccine also requires 2 types of injections but 28 days apart.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines make use of messenger RNA (mRNA). The Coronavirus contains a spike-like structure on their surface labelled as the S protein. These mRNA vaccines instruct cells to make a harmless version of the S protein. After being vaccinated, cells will create protein pieces and display them on cell surfaces. Your immune system won’t be able to recognize the new protein pieces and begin building antibodies as an immune response to them.
As of writing, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved by the Philippine FDA for emergency use. The Sinovac Vaccine is the one to be procured here in the Philippines earliest (approximately February to March 2021). It’s only been proven to have approximately 50% efficacy. Its mechanism involves using killed viral particles and exposing the body’s immune system to the virus without risking a fatal disease response.
For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both have been proven to have possibilities of side effects, may it be after the first or second dose. These include the following:
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Swelling in the injection area
For immediate reactions, the recipient of the vaccine will be observed for at least 15 minutes after the shot is administered. Most of the aforementioned side effects are experienced within three days after vaccination.
2. There is no approved vaccine for kids yet
As discussed, the Philippine FDA as of writing only approved the use of Pfizer Vaccine. When it comes to clinical trials for all vaccines in general, they have only been conducted on age groups concerning 16 year olds and above. There have been no clinical trials proving that the approved vaccine can be effective or even safe for infants, toddlers, or kids.
3. Is the vaccine safe for pregnant and/or breastfeeding moms?
The clinical trials conducted for these vaccines generally do not enlist pregnant participants as part of their testing pool until they’re proven safe and tolerable to non-pregnant participants. Pregnant and lactating women are excluded from clinical trials for all types of already available. However, pregnant and lactating moms are not discouraged from getting the vaccine. The decision is ultimately from them but they are advised to consult with their OB-GYN first before doing so. If anything, pregnant health care workers have higher priority in receiving the vaccine.
4. Yes, you should still wear your masks
We can never be too lax despite the availability of these vaccines since not everyone has access to them yet. Even in the periods between first and second dose, there’s still a chance that you can contract the coronavirus. Always make it a point to still wear your masks properly when heading outside of your homes, practice physical distancing, and avoid crowded areas. We should have No Compromise when it comes to the safety of the entire family from the Coronavirus.
News about approvals and procurement of vaccines here in the country are constantly developing and we’ll be sure to keep you updated. As No Compromise parents, it’s important to also fact check every article or news you come across on social media. Again, we can never be too lax when it comes to COVID-19.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-vaccine/art-20484859.
Philippines’ FDA Approves Pfizer Vaccine for Emergency Use, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-14/philippines-fda-approves-pfizer-vaccine-for-emergency-use.