I received my second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine a little over a week ago. That’s great news for me as it means I’m essentially immune to the deadly virus that has been crushing the health, finances, and overall well-being of our entire planet for almost a year. Aside from mild pain at injection site, I had zero symptoms or immune response following either dose.
Should you also get the vaccine? YES!
COST-BENEFIT OF VACCINES
Although no medical intervention is ever 100% safe, modern vaccinations have an amazing safety profile. The biggest risk you run as a recipient of this vaccine is severe allergic reaction. If you have a history of allergic reaction (especially the most severe form known as anaphylaxis), then you should have a conversation with your doctor or other healthcare provider prior to receiving the vaccination.
If you run a brief cost-benefit analysis (CBA), its easy to see the benefit gained (likely immunity) far exceeds the potential cost (risk of adverse effects). Some have suggested they’d rather suffer the infection to gain immunity than get the vaccine. There are two reasons this line of thinking is problematic:
Even in the young and healthy, we are seeing post-COVID syndromes that can cause long-lasting symptoms of decreased lung function, diminished exercise performance, higher risk of heart attack & stroke, and many other symptoms. This is not a disease you want to get- even if you are in a low-risk group.
- Gaining immunity thru disease exposure is a much messier process than thru vaccination. Think about it as the difference between modern warfare smart bombs vs older carpet bombing techniques. Instead of throwing hundreds of bombs out of a moving airplane in the vicinity of a target hoping for the best, one laser or GPS guided weapon can reliably reach an intended target. Similarly, the leading COVID-19 vaccines were designed to specifically target the infamous coronavirus spike protein. This means you are more likely to reach full and long-lasting immunity via vaccination.
Keep in mind, it is common for recipients of the vaccine to have symptoms of an immune response such as headache, chills, muscle aches and in some cases mild nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms are more commonly seen after the second dose as well as in those who have actually had COVID-19. This constellation of symptoms is NOT an adverse effect and is actually demonstrating a functioning and healthy immune system. As stated above, I had zero symptoms after either dose.
There are currently two options being offered in the United States. They are both mRNA vaccinations, which is a new technology, but will likely eclipse all other methods for producing vaccinations and possibly other future drugs. One was created by Moderna and the other by BioNTech and distributed by Pfizer. The variant produced by Astrazeneca is offered across Europe and uses a damaged common cold virus that has been combined with a segment of the COVID-19 virus. This vaccine has been shown to be less effective than the Moderna & Pfizer variants.
FOR MORE INFO
For more basic information on the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
AIRCREW: This subsequent post speaks directly to special considerations for aircrew getting the vaccine.