If there are no side effects, does it work?

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Elvin Toro, 26, a former army medic, arranges his syringes before giving the next dose to a resident of Central Falls High School in Central Falls, RI on February 13, 2021. JOSEPH PREZIOSO / Getty Images
  • While many assume that the side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine mean the vaccine is working, researchers at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore say people shouldn’t interpret symptoms that way.
  • The researchers found that whether or not you experience side effects, vaccines work extremely well in generating a strong immune response.
  • Overall, 99.9% of study participants successfully developed antibodies to fight SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Many people assume that when a person experiences side effects after being vaccinated with COVID-19, it is a sign that the vaccine is working.

This can leave people without such symptoms wondering if their vaccinations were successful. According to a new research letter from scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine, this is not a valid concern.

Johns Hopkins research has confirmed that the Pfizer – BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are extremely effective at generating a strong antibody response whether or not a person develops side effects.

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Main author of the letter Dr Aaron Milstone, Associate Epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, explains,

“It was not known whether the absence of symptoms after vaccination or a previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 would indicate a less than adequate antibody response in people who received either the [Pfizer–BioNTech] or Moderna vaccines, so we looked at a group of available staff from our hospital to see if there were any links. “

There were none. In the study, 99.9% of all participants successfully developed the antibodies that the vaccines are designed to promote.

The research letter appears in the newspaper JAMA Internal Medicine.

The surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is covered with spikes that attach to healthy cells, allowing the virus to enter and become infected. The two vaccines tested – the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines – provide the body with a set of instructions, or mRNA, to make the spike protein.

In response, the body’s immune system begins to produce immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies as a defense against the spike protein. IgG antibodies destroy and remove spike protein from the body.

If the immune system encounters SARS-CoV-2, spikes in the virus trigger the release of these antibodies, which neutralize the virus or limit the severity of any illness it causes.

It should be noted that none of the available COVID-19 vaccines contain live or dead SARS-CoV-2.

A total of 954 healthcare workers from Johns Hopkins Medical participated in the research. All had received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and some had already had a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

What indicated an infection was either to have a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test within 14 days of the second vaccine dose or to have a high IgG antibody count before receiving the vaccine.

The researchers asked participants to report their reactions to their first and second inoculations. They might report none, mild – including pain at the injection site, headache, and mild fatigue – or clinically significant symptoms, such as fever, chills, and fatigue.

Only 5% of participants reported side effects after their first inoculation, although 43% reported experiencing side effects after the second.

People who took the Moderna vaccine were more likely to have clinically significant symptoms after either dose, and those who had previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2 were more likely to experience them after the dose. first shot but not the second.

Whether or not people experienced side effects, almost all – 953 out of 954 – developed IgG antibodies 14 days after their last dose of the vaccine.

The only exception was a person taking immunosuppressive drugs.

Some people had particularly high IgG levels, which researchers link to a few possible factors. These include reporting clinically significant symptoms, being female, being under 60, having received the Moderna vaccine, and having had previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Principal author Dr Amanda Debes, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, tells HUB, Johns Hopkins News Center:

“The results suggest that either of the spiked mRNA vaccines will work well against SARS-CoV-2, even if a person does not have symptoms after vaccination or if they have previously had an infection with SARS-CoV-2. virus. This should help reduce fears that the vaccines will be less effective in either case. “

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About Hector Hedgepeth

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