COVID-19, Myths and Truths: Answers To Your Questions About The Vaccine

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We help you solve some of the most frequently asked questions about the coronavirus vaccine.

Detail of labeled glass vials containing a generic Covid-19 vaccine.

We discuss some of the most frequently asked questions about vaccination and their answers. Photo: Adobe Stock

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: COVID-19, mitos y verdades: respondemos tus preguntas sobre la vacuna

We are three months away from turning one year since the COVID-19 vaccination process began in most countries in the world. So far, it is estimated that 29.6% of the global population is already fully vaccinated, but it must be taken into account that there is a great disparity between continents, even between countries in the same region. While in some nations that have an advanced vaccination program, such as Israel, they have already begun to apply the third dose; in Chad, Republic of the Congo and Haiti they do not reach 1% of the vaccinated population. This implies that global herd immunization is still a long way off.

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Despite the time that has passed and the vaccine has allowed a slow return to normality, there is still a lot of misinformation about it. This ignorance is used to generate "fake news" that is sometimes shared and delivered by people skeptical about the advantages of vaccines or by people who are completely against the vaccination process. This has caused suspicious among several groups.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers:

What is the difference between the first and second doses?

As strange as it may sound, a vaccine must be designed. One of these designs consists of a vaccine and its reinforcement, as is the case with the Pfiezer, the AstraZeneca and the Moderna. These require two doses. But, there are vaccines, such as Janssen, that only require one dose. Why does this happen? In the case of the Janssen vaccine, when the first and second phase studies were carried out, the results showed that 90% of the people who took part in the study developed the necessary antibodies; the other 10% developed them 57 days after applying the first dose.

This does not imply that the effectiveness of one-dose vaccines is greater than two-dose vaccines, or vice versa. Likewise, the second dose of the vaccines that require it, ensures that there is protection for a longer time.

It should be noted that what is supplied in the second dose, as it is a booster, is exactly the same as that applied in the first .

Does something happen if I get the second dose after 29 days of having the first?

Prolonging the time between doses does not affect the safety or efficacy of the vaccine. In fact, according to Leonardo Arregocés, director of Medicines and Health Technologies of the Ministry of Health of Colombia, it is likely that better efficacy can be observed if the second dose is not applied until weeks after the 29-day compliance of the first dose. But why wait until 29 days? Second-phase studies of most vaccines showed that after 28 days, the already developed antibodies can be seen.

What happens if I only get one dose?

For vaccines that require two doses, if you only apply one you will not have complete immunity, which means that if you acquire the coronavirus you can have serious symptoms. This would not only affect your health, but it is also necessary that you apply both doses so that there is a greater percentage of people with the complete vaccination, so we will reach herd immunity.

Once I have two doses, can I stop wearing a mask?

The answer is simple: no. As we know, there are variants and most people are not vaccinated with the complete picture, so the chances of contagion remain very high. Biosecurity measures should continue to be used while the threat becomes less high. Experts say that, depending on the percentage of vaccinated in each country, and even city, the security measures cannot be removed until, perhaps, the end of this year.