Frequently asked questions about COVID Vaccine:
If I have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, does it mean I will not be infected by COVID-19? No. If you have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, it does not mean you will not be infected by COVID-19. The vaccine protects against progression to severe disease and hospitalisation. Analogy: If a person "N" has never been vaccinated before for COVID-19 and acquires the infection from the community. N's body needs about 2 weeks to produce antibodies to fight against the COVID-19 infection. Within 2 weeks the COVID-19 virus would have replicated and grown numerously in N's body, making it more difficult for the body's antibodies to neutralise the infection due to the time delay between onset of infection till neutralisation. This surge of viral concentration causes more severe disease and requires hospitalisation. If compared to a person "Z" who has been vaccinated before, "Z's" body has available antibodies ready to go once there is an active COVID-19 infection. So upon onset of infection, the body already starts to neutralise the COVID-19 virus as soon as possible and inhibits the growth and replication of the COVID-19 virus. When the concentration of the COVID-19 virus is low, this helps the body quickly fight off infection and prevents progression to severe states.
Are the COVID-19 Vaccines safe in children below 18 years old? Currently, there are ongoing studies in paediatrics but only in Phase II in other vaccines like Moderna, J&J and Sinovac. Details will be published later. So far only Pfizer Combinati is approved for use in children below 18 years old.
Are the COVID-19 Vaccines safe in pregnancy? We only have animal studies to support the safety of the vaccine in pregnancy but there is no evidence supporting the COVID-19 vaccine's safety in human studies.
Should I test myself for pregnancy before taking the COVID-19 vaccines? Currently, there are no recommendations to check for pregnancy before taking the vaccine. A urine pregnancy test should not be a routine screening.
If I am pregnant after taking the first COVID-19 vaccine dose, should I continue taking the second COVID-19 vaccine dose? We currently do not recommend taking the second COVID-19 vaccine dose. After the first dose may already be able to provide some immunity against the COVID-19 virus.
Are the COVID-19 Vaccines safe in lactating mothers? Data are not available on the potential benefits and risks of the vaccine to breastfed children. However, as the COVID-19 vaccines, like BIBP (Sinovac, CoronaVac), Pfizer (Combinati), Moderna, J&J and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) are not live virus vaccines, it is biologically and clinically unlikely to pose a risk to the breastfeeding child, WHO does not recommend discontinuing breastfeeding because of vaccination.
Should people who had recovered from COVID-19 take the COVID-19 vaccine? Available data show that in 6 months after initial natural infection; reinfection is uncommon. People who had recovered from the COVID-19 disease usually have natural antibodies persisting for about 6 months. They can choose to delay the vaccine up to 6 months and vaccinate after about 6 months from the initial onset of the COVID-19 infection when the natural antibodies are reducing. This vaccine can be considered as a "booster vaccine" to induce another antibody peak.
Can people with acute COVID-19 infection take the COVID-19 vaccine? WHO does not recommend people to take the vaccine when they are infected with acute onset COVID-19 disease and PCR positive for COVID-19.
Can people who were treated with passive antibody therapy for COVID-19 infection take the COVID-19 vaccine? Currently, there are no data on the safety or efficacy of vaccination in persons who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. As a precautionary measure, vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days to avoid interference of the antibody treatment with vaccine-induced immune response.
I have taken the first dose of another brand of the vaccine but I developed an adverse reaction. Can I opt to take another brand of the vaccine? Currently, there is no data on the safety or efficacy of vaccination in persons who received one type of vaccine and are able to switch in between other types of vaccines. As a precautionary measure, vaccination should be deferred for at least 90-180 days to avoid interference with vaccine-induced immune response.
Can I take the COVID-19 vaccine if I am HIV positive? Make sure that you are stable HIV:
Viral load <50 copies/mL (within 6 months)
CD4 count >200cell/mm3 (within 6 months)
On treatment (> 6 months)
Can I take the COVID-19 vaccine if I have taken another vaccine? Yes. If you have taken another vaccine such as hepatitis B or influenza vaccines prior to getting your COVID-19 vaccine, ensure it is about 2 weeks apart from one vaccine to another before taking the COVID-19 vaccine. For example on 01/06/2021 you took your Hepatitis B vaccine then you can schedule your COVID-19 vaccine after 14/06/21 (14 days apart) and vice versa.