Common questions about coronavirus vaccinations

CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-04-12 09:05
A medical worker injects a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a local resident in Ruili, Southwest China's Yunnan province, April 1, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about COVID-19 vaccines:

Should older adults get the vaccine?

Yes. Clinical trials have shown that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people aged 60 and above and can induce proper immune responses in them. But special attention should be paid to evaluate the health conditions of elderly people with underlying illnesses before inoculation. Seniors in the midst of an acute episode of disease should consult doctors beforehand and consider delaying vaccination.

I am trying to conceive/am pregnant/am breastfeeding. Should I get vaccinated?

It is not recommended to terminate pregnancy or delay pregnancy plans due to receiving vaccines, and pregnant women who are vaccinated should stick to routine prenatal visits and checks. Women who are breastfeeding and are at high risk of infections, such as medical workers, should get vaccinated, and it is recommended that they continue breastfeeding following vaccination.

How long do I have to wait between vaccine doses? What if I can't get the second or third dose on time?

For those getting two-dose inactivated vaccines, the first and second doses should be administered between three and eight weeks apart. For those getting the three-dose recombinant subunit protein vaccines, each dose should be administered at least four weeks apart.

In the case of the latter, the second dose is recommended to be given no later than eight weeks after the first, and the third should be given within six months of the first. Anyone who fails to adhere to the prescribed schedule should complete the full vaccination procedure as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Are there adverse reactions? If so, are any of them life-threatening?

Common adverse reactions from vaccination include headache, fever, diarrhea and fatigue, as well as swelling, redness or a lump appearing at the injection site. Most of these side effects dissipate in a few days.

Severe and acute adverse reactions, such as fainting, are rare and usually occur within 30 minutes after injection. China requires all people to stay on-site for monitoring for 30 minutes following inoculation so they can receive immediate treatment if serious side effects occur.

Is it true that the vaccine only provides protection against the virus for six months at most?

This is false. Immunity gained through vaccination can last for a minimum of six months based on data obtained from clinical trials. Researchers are still monitoring the immunity level in people who are vaccinated for the first time. As more results are released, it is expected that the length of protection will only grow.

Will vaccines work on new variants of the virus?

There is no evidence proving that observed virus mutations will render approved vaccines ineffective. Chinese vaccine developers are closely monitoring mutations of the virus worldwide and are testing their vaccines against the new strains. Results so far have suggested that domestic vaccines can still generate antibodies in humans that can fend off new variants. More research is underway.

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