If you’ve been wondering how the COVID-19 shots people are getting these days are going to hold up to a virus that is constantly mutating, you’re not alone. It appears that even the companies making the vaccines aren’t completely sure yet just how well they will perform over time, giving us all yet another solid reason to think very carefully before lining up for a jab.
Speaking to CNBC’s Meg Tirrell, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky admitted that the COVID-19 vaccine could well end up being like the seasonal flu vaccine and that people may need to get it each year because the virus can mutate as it spreads.
“Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial, so to speak, where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend off antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine,” he conceded.
Experts believe that COVID-19 will become an endemic disease that will always be present in the world, although it is hoped that we will see it at far lower levels than we’re seeing right now. This means that much like the flu and other endemic diseases, health officials will need to be constantly looking out for new variants of coronavirus so that vaccines can be created to fight them.
We just don’t know how long vaccine protection from COVID-19 will last
In other words, all those people who have gotten vaccines these days who think they’ve solved the problem for good are in for an unpleasant surprise when next winter rolls around – or even sooner, as we just don’t know how long the protection from the vaccines currently being offered will last.
Some people who have had COVID-19 and recovered have already been infected a second time, and researchers are still unsure what this means about how long a person can expect immunity from the virus – although it isn’t exactly promising. Vaccine makers have been looking into ways to make the shots more effective and allow them to provide longer immune protection than natural infections, although it’s not clear what additional risks this would bring to vaccination.
Many people who have received the first of the two-dose vaccines currently being administered in the U.S. from Pfizer and Moderna have reported side effects such as headache, fever, muscle aches, injection site soreness and fatigue. Those who have received the second dose often report that its side effects are more powerful.
Data from V-safe, an app that enables people to report side effects from COVID-19 vaccines to the CDC, shows that the side effects people are experiencing within a week of their second jab are stronger than the first, with 17 percent reporting muscle aches after the first round and 42 percent reporting them after the second jab; the figures for fatigue climb from 17 percent after the first shot to 50 percent after the second one. Other reactions, like nausea, joint pain, fever, chills, pain and headache also rose after the second shot.
If people need to get these shots yearly or even a few times per year, they could well be experiencing these side effects again and again – not to mention the potential effects of cumulative exposure to the vaccines’ ingredients.
Given the many unknowns about what type of protection these vaccines provide, how long that protection lasts, and the potential side effects they could cause in the long term, people should weigh the risks and rewards of the vaccine carefully before making an appointment.
Sources for this article include:
- Mainstream media telling men to freeze their sperm before receiving coronavirus vaccine
- Vaccine makers express confidence that their shots can take on new “mutant” strain of the same coronavirus their colleagues engineered in the first place
- Boston physician vouches for the Moderna coronavirus vaccine that almost TOOK HIS LIFE
- Coronavirus immunity may last for at least six months after infection