MEDICAL SECOND OPINION
COVID-19 Vaccine

In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect individuals against the disease, some measures should be taken. It is of great importance that the vaccination is done correctly, especially in order to improve immunity against the virus. Developed vaccines not only help increase immunity, but also help reduce the risk of individuals contracting the virus and transmitting the virus to patients. 

What are the COVID-19 Vaccine Types?

COVID-19 vaccines are produced by several different methods. However, all vaccines aim to make individuals immune to this virus. 

Inactivated vaccines stimulate the immune system to render the virus ineffective or weak. This type of vaccine obtained from dead viruses should be stored at 2-8°C. Since traditional methods are used in the development of these vaccines, the production time is longer and slower. The CoronaVac vaccine of the Sinovac company belongs to the inactivated vaccine class. 

mRNA vaccines allow artificial mRNAs produced in laboratories to stimulate the immune system. The mRNAs that take part in protein synthesis are expelled from the body like normal molecules after this task. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines fall under the mRNA class. The biggest disadvantage of these vaccines is that they need to be stored at very low temperatures. 

Viral vector vaccines are produced with genetically modified adenoviruses. These types of vaccines also carry the disease-free RNA of the COVID-19 virus. After vaccination, it is aimed that individuals become immune to the disease with the immune response of the body. These vaccines, produced with modern technologies, are stored between 2°C and 8°C. 

Which Vaccines Are Used for COVID-19?

Phase III studies of vaccines developed to protect public health against the COVID-19 virus continue. However, some approved vaccines have started to be implemented in many countries of the world. The vaccines that have been applied and are planned to be applied in Turkey are Pfizer-BioNTech and CoronaVac mRNA vaccines. It has been stated that the protection level of vaccines is between 90-95% on average. 

Pfizer-BioNTech 

Pfizer-BioNTech uses the genetic material of the virus in its vaccine (genetic code that encodes the spine protein). Since it is an mRNA vaccine, it aims to synthesize the COVID-19 virus protein in the cells of individuals. In this way, the immune system that recognizes the virus can produce antibodies against the virus. 2 doses are administered with an interval of 21 days. 

CoronaVac 

The CoronaVac vaccine produced by the Sinovac company of Chinese origin is produced from dead viruses. The purpose of this vaccine is for the immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus. After administration of this vaccine, the immune system produces antibodies to protect against the COVID-19 virus. CoronaVac vaccine is administered as 2 doses 28 days apart. 

Who Can Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

In our country, the COVID-19 vaccine is administered in 4 stages determined by the Ministry of Health. The order in which the application will be made to the people is determined depending on if there is a high risk, age, occupation, and presence of a chronic disease. 

1. Phase

• Those working in health institutions and pharmacies 

• People living in elderly, disabled and protection homes and those working in these institutions 

• Individuals over the age of 65 

2. Phase 

• Employees working in priority sectors for the continuation of the service, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Justice, municipal police force, private security institutions, prisons, education sector, food sector and transportation sector. 

• Individuals between the ages of 50-64 

3. Phase 

• Individuals between the ages of 18-49 with chronic diseases 

• Other individuals between the ages of 18-49 

4. Phase 

• Individuals who miss the vaccination order 

What are the Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Laboratory studies show that approved vaccines have no serious side effects. The side effects seen are generally mild. Some of the side effects that can be seen after vaccination are as follows: 

Shivering 

Fatigue 

Muscle and joint pain 

Headaches 

Fever 

Pain, redness or swelling at the vaccination site 

Vomiting 

Diarrhea 

Side effects especially affect people with allergic problems more. Therefore, in order to avoid serious allergic reactions, individuals should be informed prior to vaccination and should be checked for allergenic substances. 

How Long Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Protect?

The protection of COVID-19 vaccines is considered to be valid for a certain period of time. Individuals who have had the disease are at risk of contracting COVID-19 again, as their antibody levels drop over time. In this sense, individuals can be reinfected even if they are vaccinated, although it is unlikely. 

High immunity to the virus means less chance of contracting the disease. For this reason, vaccines are administered as 2 doses at regular intervals. Clinical studies are ongoing to clarify how long the protection period these vaccines provide. 

Can People With COVID-19 Get Vaccinated?

Patients who already have COVID-19 are considered immune to this disease. However, it is not known exactly how long this immunity will last. Survivors can become reinfected. At the same time, the duration of this natural immunity varies from patient to patient. In this sense, individuals who have had the disease should also be vaccinated. According to the type of treatment received, people who have had the disease may need to wait for 90 days after treatment to be vaccinated. 

Can Children Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

There is no application for children in the COVID-19 vaccine calendar of the Ministry of Health. Vaccination applications worldwide are made only to young people and adults over the age of 16. 

Do You Have To Follow Social Distancing Rules After Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine?

Attention should be paid to hygiene and distance rules. At the same time, the use of masks after vaccination is an extremely critical measure to minimize the risk of contamination. 


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