What Are Vaccines Made Of
Each vaccine will be made up of slightly different ingredients depending on the disease it is targeting. The active ingredient in a vaccine is a very small amount of the killed, greatly weakened or broken-down parts of the bacteria or virus you are vaccinating against. Vaccines also contain small amounts of preservatives and stabilisers, such as sorbitol and citric acid. These can already be found in the body or in food usually in much larger quantities than the amount used in a vaccine. However, the most abundant ingredient in a vaccine is water.
Some vaccines also contain aluminium usually in the form of aluminium hydroxide. Aluminium is found naturally in nearly all food and drinking water and is used in vaccines to strengthen and prolong the immune response they generate.10 The amount of aluminium in vaccines is extremely small and a recent study found that, in an infants first year of life, the total amount of aluminium in both vaccines and food is less than the weekly safe intake level.11
Immunisation is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year – World Health Organization
Who Should Get A Booster
Booster vaccines are available to everyone aged 18 years and over who received their primary course of COVID-19 vaccines dose one and two at least three or four months ago .
This includes pregnant women and severely immunocompromised people who received a third COVID-19 vaccine as part of their primary course.
While booster doses are, in most cases, not mandatory, they are recommended to maintain immunity against COVID-19.
According to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation , a timely booster dose is especially important for:
- people with risk factors for severe disease
- people with increased risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2
How Long Youll Be Protected For
We dont yet know how long youll be protected but will continue to review data as it becomes available.
Current evidence suggests that after two doses protection against severe disease, including hospital and ICU admission, remains high, including for the Delta variant, but that antibody levels decline over time.
Recommended Reading: Does Cvs Have Tdap Vaccine
Vaccines Decrease Chances Of Infection Transmission
All three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. were designed to prevent severe infection, hospitalization and death. But experts and public health officials say the shots also protect people from contracting and spreading the virus.
“What we know is that individuals who are vaccinated are much less likely to be infected therefore much less likely to spread the virus,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said in an email.
Data from clinical trials indicate the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are about 95% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections. Johnson & Johnson’s shot was found to be about 72% effective at preventing moderate to severe disease.
The vaccine rollout has affirmed those findings.
Fully vaccinated people made up about 9% of reported COVID-19 deaths in 13 U.S. jurisdictions between April and July, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC studies have also shown unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19.
Fact check:Infected with COVID-19 in the past? You still need the vaccine, experts say
The agency says on its website that, while breakthrough infections are possible, “most people who get COVID-19 are unvaccinated.” Experts told USA TODAY the shots provide considerable protection against infection and transmission.
Data on how COVID-19 vaccination affects transmission is more complicated, but still promising.
Does That Mean The Booster Protects Against Omicron
With how many people, including many vaccinated individuals, are becoming infected lately, you may suspect that the vaccines wont protect you at all from this new variant. Thats not the case, says Dr. Singh.
The Covid vaccines from all manufacturers has been proven to provide immunity against Covid and each of the variants that we have encountered since the start of the pandemic, he says. similar to other vaccines and diseases, as time goes by, the circulating antibody levels will start to drop, hence the need for a booster to prevent more breakthrough infections.
Don’t Miss: Tdap Vaccine Cvs Pharmacy
Will Omicron Replace Delta As The Dominant Strain
The variant has more than 30 mutations to the spike protein alone, which is the key part of the virus that allows it to bind to human cells and infect the body, Hamer said.
The spike protein’s many mutations have scientists worried that it will be far more infectious than the highly contagious delta variant that’s caused a surge in cases across globe in recent months.
“The real question is going to be, ‘Is omicron is better at transmission than delta is — is it gong to displace delta?” Hamer said. “Or will delta remain the dominant strain that we have to deal with?”
The Boston-based infectious disease experts noted, however, that coronavirus strains can be unpredictable.
Kuritzkes pointed to past coronavirus strains, like the mu variant, that have caused concern but ultimately did not amount to much.
Mu surfaced in September as a classified “variant of interest” from the World Health Organization and was initially thought to be resistant to vaccines and other means of immunity.
“There was a lot of concern about that,” Hamer said. “Then it just sort of fizzled out. It may be that that virus is not as fit, not as able to transmit and therefore delta has a fitness advantage.”
“We really have to see if it actually outcompetes delta anywhere that is still struggling with delta,” Doron said.
This article tagged under:
Other Early Studies Support The Need For Boosters Against Omicron
In addition to the Pfizer and BioNTech study, separate research announced Tuesday similarly showed signs that omicron may partially evade the antibodies generated after two vaccine doses.
In South Africa, researchers saw a 41-fold drop in antibody neutralization in the blood plasma of people given two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine compared to an earlier variant. Similarly, a German study found a 37-fold reduction in antibody neutralization against omicron compared to the delta variant.
Alex Sigal, the virologist who led the South African study, said that while laboratory tests show a large reduction in antibody effectiveness, that doesn’t necessarily mean the virus will escape vaccine-induced immunity in real life.
“The vaccine takes a hit, but it is not a completely different ballgame,” Sigal said. “The escape of this variant is robust, it’s extensive. But it’s not complete.”
“A good booster probably would decrease your chance of infection, especially infection leading to more severe disease,” he added. “People who haven’t had a booster should get one, and people who previously were infected should get vaccinated.”
According to several experts, larger studies and more real-world data will be needed to effectively gauge the risk omicron poses to immunity.
Recommended Reading: Does Cvs Have Tdap Vaccine
What Do South Africa Lab Tests Tell Us About Omicron
ï»¿Some drop-off is not surprising.
The amount seen in this small study is in the ballpark of what scientists were expecting given the substantial mutations that Omicron has compared with original Covid that the vaccines were designed to fight.
What these early lab results still can’t tell us is what it truly means in terms of how well existing vaccines work in protecting people around the globe.
Neutralising antibodies – which latch on to the virus to stop it infecting our cells – are just one part of the immune response to Covid.
Jabs, or past infection, also trigger T cells that help protect us against the virus.
The picture will become clearer in the coming weeks as we gather more data from around the world on how many people are catching Omicron, how sick they are getting and whether they were vaccinated or not.
Is Is Better For My Child To Get The Disease Naturally
No. The only way to get the disease naturally would be through infection with the bacteria or virus that causes the disease. This would pose a serious risk to your childs health, potentially making them very ill and causing long-term effects. Some diseases, such as measles and meningitis, can also be fatal. Natural infection also enables the disease to spread from your child to those around them, increasing the risk of others getting ill. Vaccination allows your child to build up immunity in a safe and controlled environment without becoming ill with the disease and passing it to others.
Read Also: Does Cvs Offer Tdap Shot
Once Boosted Am I Free To Enjoy Christmas
After youve had the booster, it takes a few days before the additional protection kicks in. A study in Israel found that protection starts to appear about seven days after the booster shot and then continues to increase for another week.
So after your booster, you shouldnt assume you have any increased protection for at least another week to ten days. You can still enjoy Christmas, but continue to be cautious especially if you are, or have contact with, a vulnerable person.
What Is The Immune System
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body from harmful germs. When bacteria, viruses, and other germs invade your body, they multiply and attack. This invasion is called an infection. Infections cause the diseases that make you sick.
Your immune system protects you from the disease by fighting off the invading germs.
You May Like: Does Cvs Have Tdap Vaccine
How Are New Vaccines Developed
It can take a long time to develop a new vaccine. Vaccines go through many phases of development including research, discovery, pre-clinical testing, clinical testing and regulatory approval. Once the vaccine is approved, the vaccine is then manufactured and shipped to where its needed.
In certain circumstances, increased resources, concurrent clinical trials, and funding can fast-track development, such as in the case of the COVID-19 vaccines.
After vaccines are introduced into immunisation schedules, they are closely monitored through trials and surveillance to see if they are effective and safe. In Australia, there are regional and national surveillance systems actively looking for any adverse events following immunisation. This is necessary, as sometimes unexpected side effects occur after vaccines are registered for use.
Some vaccines, such as the flu, need to be updated every year to respond to changing infection strains and conditions. For these updates, the process is compressed to ensure the vaccine is available as needed.
Most Of The Worlds Vaccines Likely Wont Prevent Infection From Omicron
They do seem to offer significant protection against severe illness, but the consequences of rapidly spreading infection worry many public health experts.
- Read in app
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
Give this article
- Read in app
A growing body of preliminary research suggests the Covid vaccines used in most of the world offer almost no defense against becoming infected by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
All vaccines still seem to provide a significant degree of protection against serious illness from Omicron, which is the most crucial goal. But only the Pfizer and Moderna shots, when reinforced by a booster, appear to have initial success at stopping infections, and these vaccines are unavailable in most of the world.
The other shots including those from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and vaccines manufactured in China and Russia do little to nothing to stop the spread of Omicron, early research shows. And because most countries have built their inoculation programs around these vaccines, the gap could have a profound impact on the course of the pandemic.
Most evidence so far is based on laboratory experiments, which do not capture the full range of the bodys immune response, and not from tracking the effect on real-world populations. The results are striking, however.
You May Like: Does Cvs Do Tetanus Shots
Protection Against Severe Illness
The researchers then analyzed the effectiveness of the three vaccines in preventing hospitalizations and mortality.
Although more than 800,000 people in North Carolina reported COVID-19 during the study period between December 2020 and September 2021, the researchers only had access to hospitalization and survival data on 40% and 60% of these COVID-19 cases, respectively.
Analyzing these data, the researchers found that all three vaccines, especially the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, provided high levels of protection against hospitalization and death at least 6 months after vaccination.
The Pfizer vaccine was 88.7% and 90.5% effective at preventing hospitalization and death, respectively, due to COVID-19 at 7 months after vaccination. Similarly, the Moderna vaccine had an effectiveness of over 94% against hospitalizations and death at the end of 7 months after the first dose.
At 6 months following vaccination, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 80% effective in preventing hospitalizations and 70% effective in protecting against death.
Similar to the effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infections, the efficacy of all three vaccines in preventing severe illness was lower in individuals aged 65 years and older.
If These Diseases Are So Rare Why Does My Child Need To Be Vaccinated
All of the diseases that we vaccinate against exist in the world today. Therefore, if your child has not been vaccinated, there is still a risk that they could get the disease and become very sick. We know that decreases in vaccination uptake can result in outbreaks of diseases such as measles.5 Regular vaccination is needed to keep our children healthy, prevent outbreaks from occurring and to eventually eradicate these diseases altogether. Infectious diseases are easily passed from person to person and entire communities can rapidly become infected. If a high enough proportion of a community is protected by vaccination, it makes it difficult for the disease to spread because the number of people who can be infected is so small.
Your immune system is there to protect you by vaccinating your child, you give his/her immune system all the tools it needs to keep them safe from many severe diseases – Meike Heurich-Sevcenco, BSI Vaccine Champion
This type of protection is known as herd immunity and is particularly crucial for some individuals who are unable to receive some vaccines. This may include those that are too young, undergoing certain medical treatment or have a health condition that impairs the function of their immune system . Declines in herd immunity caused by decreasing vaccination rates have recently caused outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in the UK.6,7
You May Like: Does Cvs Have Tdap Vaccine
Do Vaccines Protect Against Omicron What Early Evidence Shows
Three new laboratory studies show troubling signs that two doses of the Pfizer–BioNTech coronavirus vaccine may not fully protect against the omicron variant. But the research also suggests that three doses may provide much better protection.
Numbers Reveal Key Benefits To Vaccine Boosters In Fighting Infection Severe Illness And Death
Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Covid vaccinations provided by the Salt Lake County Health Department at the Rancho Market parking lot on Redwood Road, on Thursday, January 6, 2022.
Often, we have to communicate shaded ideas in a world where its just easier to remember ideas in black or white.
And this creates a problem: most people consider themselves better wordsmiths than number crunchers. And yet, sometimes, in communicating changing or proportional ideas, words just arent the right tool for the task. Numbers are.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in a large portion of the publics misunderstanding accidental or otherwise of the coronavirus. That the omicron variant is more mild than previous variants is taken to mean that omicron is mild. That masks prevent some amount of transmission, but not most of it, is taken to mean that masks dont work. And when its said that the vast majority of people survive the virus, many take that to mean that theyre okay to live with vast impunity.
So when people read articles on vaccine efficacy, and see that the vaccine is less effective against omicron, many take that as the vaccines are ineffective. Its just too easy to subtly shift the meaning of words and phrases, even unintentionally.
Well, I want to try to nail that down. Using real-world case, hospitalization, and death counts, I want to show you the efficacy and yes, sometimes, the lack thereof of our current vaccines against omicron.
You May Like: Does Cvs Have Tdap Vaccine
The Coronavirus Vaccine You’ll Be Offered
The vaccine you are offered will be appropriate for you and will be based on clinical recommendations, including those of the JCVI.
The vaccine you receive will also depend on your age, whether you are pregnant and vaccine availability. For a limited number of people, it will depend on clinical reasons such as severe allergy or having a severely weakened immune system.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines are authorised for use in children and adults aged 12 years and over. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is authorised for use in children aged 5 to 11 years.
The JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than Oxford/AstraZeneca.
You may wish to go ahead with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.
If you have already had a first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should complete the course .
This includes people aged 18 to 39 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and household contacts of those with a severely weakened immune system.