The second wave of COVID-19 has spread concerns all around the world urging people to get vaccinated and protect themselves from the life-threatening virus. To accelerate the rate of vaccinations in the country, the government is now in talks with Pfizer over its vaccine supply to India.
As per the indication from the government, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be available in India from July 2021. You will have to wait for the official announcement and continue to stay updated with the latest news from official sources.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was the first vaccine to be approved by the US FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the prevention of coronavirus infection.
Here is all you need to know about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine:
1. Which country is the Pfizer vaccine from?
The vaccine was developed by BioNtech, a German biotechnology company in collaboration with Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical giant, for clinical trials and manufacturing.
2. What is the Pfizer vaccine?
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, sold under the brand name of Comirnaty, is an mRNA vaccine.
A messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine is a type of vaccine that uses a copy of a natural chemical called messenger RNA to produce an immune response (your body’s reaction to foreign invaders) against the invading pathogen.
3. How does the vaccine work?
When an mRNA vaccine is delivered to your body, it instructs the cells of your body to generate the spike proteins (S-protein) found on the surface of the novel Coronavirus that is responsible for initiating the infection.
Instructing the cells to generate the spike protein spurs an immune response, initiating the generation of antibodies specific to the Coronavirus spike protein.
The vaccine does not contain any parts of the virus, which means that it does not contain weakened or dead parts of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for causing COVID-19.
4. How many countries are currently administering the Pfizer vaccine?
In December 2020, the United Kingdom was the first country to authorize the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on an emergency basis.
The use of the vaccine is now authorized in 84 countries including the United States, countries in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Brazil, Israel, Mexico, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Japan.
5. What is the dosage for the vaccine?
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses which WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends to be administered with a 21-28 day interval.
A protective effect starts to develop within 12 days after the first dose, however, for complete protection, you will need two doses.
The vaccine is administered in your arm as an intramuscular (in the muscle) injection.
6. What is the efficacy of the vaccine?
According to WHO (World Health Organization), The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is found to be 95% effective against Coronavirus infection.
7. What are the reported side effects of the Pfizer vaccine?
You may experience side effects within a day or two after getting the vaccination. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection against the virus and these symptoms usually go away within 2-3 days.
The common side effects of the Pfizer vaccine include:
Fever and chills
Pain, redness, and swelling in the area of injection
There are rare chances that the vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. This could occur from few minutes to one hour after getting the first dose and may include the following:
Swelling of the airways
Difficulty in breathing
Dizziness and weakness
Rashes all over your body
In case you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.
8. What is the storage requirement for the vaccine?
The vaccine remains stable when refrigerated at a temperature of 2-8 °C.
9. Who can take the vaccine?
The vaccine is approved for use in individuals who are 12 years and above.
10. Who should not opt for the vaccine?
You should not opt for the vaccine if you have had:
A severe allergic reaction to the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
A severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients of this vaccine.
An allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs medical care to subside the symptoms.
11. Can pregnant women take the vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the US FDA for its use in pregnant women. However, if you are pregnant, it is advised to consult your doctor before getting vaccinated.
12. Can you take the vaccine if you are already infected with COVID-19 previously?
Yes! If you have had the Coronavirus infection in the past, you can take the Pfizer vaccine.
According to WHO, you may defer your vaccination for up to 6 months from the time of your infection if you wish. Consult your doctor for further advice.
1. Fda.gov. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download> [Accessed 31 May 2021].
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Information about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html> [Accessed 31 May 2021].
3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2021. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. [online] Available at: <https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine> [Accessed 31 May 2021].
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