COVID-19 vaccination began in some countries around the world, between hope, misinformation and doubts.

In this note we solve some questions about side effects, consequences and functioning, with the help of specialists and official sources, to do this with the help of our fellow Ocote Agency verifiers and Mala Espina Check, members of the LATAM Chequea Network, here's a list of frequently asked questions that can help you understand how the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine works.

If I've already had COVID-19, do I need to be vaccinated?

Pediatric infectologist, Alicia Chang, Guatemala states that people need to be vaccinated even if they have already generated immunity. "After a person has become ill with COVID-19 and has achieved a recovery, it is estimated that the immunity that person may have is a maximum of six months. The vaccine bets on one year of immunity", says.

Vaccines are not contraindicated for those who have already had the disease. "It is recommended that when a person with COVID-19 gets their test negative or has ten days without symptoms, could already be vaccinated", adds Chang.

What side effects can I have if I'm empused?

Vaccines from pharmaceutical companies Modern and Pfizer are the ones that are being applied the most in the world. These labs have reported that the most common side effects after receiving the vaccine may be pain and swelling at the site where it was injected, mild dizziness, Fever, muscle and headache pain.

"It is recommended that after receiving the vaccine, the person stays at least 15 minutes in the laboratory or clinic where the dose is applied in order to be monitored", Chang explains, pointing out that this is done with any vaccine, not only against this new strain of coronavirus.

According to Chang, after the first dose there may be headache or discomfort of the body that can be decreased with acetaminophen. "In the second dose the discomforts may be stronger: allergic reactions that may require medical help, although the probability is low", says.

After the first dose (for brands that require two doses) I can still get COVID-19?

With all vaccines, even with the most effective against the most complex disease, talking not only about COVID-19, there's a chance of contagion”, Chang says. Most laboratories whose vaccines have been approved, or they're at this stage, have published efficacy results above 90%, which implies that there may still be contagion after one or two doses.

With Pfizer, for example, with the first dose you get between 70 and 80% immunity, and with the second the person will be protected by 95%.

After the vaccine, will I still have to wear a mask?

The herd immunity or population immunity, requires that at least 80% of the country's population be protected from the disease, Chang says. That's why even if a person is already vaccinated, you should keep carrying your mask, having social estating and constant hand washing. To avoid being a carrier and a possible focus of contagion.

As reported by the head of scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO), Soumya Swaminathan at a press conference, despite the fact that COVID-19 vaccination has already started, population immunity is not expected to be reached by 2021, dose production and distribution processes take a longer time, so he also recommends the use of prolonged mask.

What if I decide not to get vaccinated?

Those who choose not to opt for the COVID-19 vaccine should continue to be strict with their personal care and social isolation, explains the pediatric infectologist. "These people should be minded that by not getting vaccinated they are more likely to get infected", designates.

If you don't get vaccinated, is affected at Community level, herd immunity will be slower. "Those who are not vaccinated are a potential transmitter of the disease. Not getting vaccinated has personal and social implications. People need to know about vaccines so they know they're safe.", Chang points out.

Information has circulated on the consumption of chlorine dioxide as an alternative to the vaccine, is it really an alternative?

"This is misinformation", Chang bluntly claims. Explain that these campaigns arise to promote alternative medicine for anti-vaccine groups to consume some other drug.

Ingesting chlorine dioxide does not generate immunity against COVID-19, claims the infectologist, who adds that contrary to this could lead to severe gastrointestinal damage. As reported by the Pan American Health Organization (Paho), intake of products containing chlorine dioxide "may cause irritation in the mouth, esophagus and stomach, with a severe irritative digestive picture, Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, in addition to severe haematological disorders, cardiovascular and renal".

"This disinformation campaign is to tame those who don't believe in the vaccine", Chang says.

Are those living with HIV/AIDS at risk when vaccinated?

"No, people who have immunosuppression, such as AIDS, the only risk they may have is that they don't mount a very potent immune response compared to other people. Therefore, they wouldn't have to feel so safe once they're vaccinated.', dr. Catterina Ferreccio said, member of the Advisory Board for Covid-19 in Chile

And with regard to coronavirus contagion, could they be at greater risk than other groups in the population?

The also principal of the assistant director of the Advanced Center for Chronic Diseases (ACCDiS ), mentioned that according to the latest studies related to HIV/AIDS and COVID-19, is that the disease is no more serious than in people without the syndrome.

"Those with coronavirus and HIV have been shown not to have a more severe picture than previously thought. It's still a risk factor of course, but in this case it's worse to be of legal age than to be middle-aged down and have AIDS," he said.

What happens for pregnant women?

Ferreccio clarified that in clinical trials conducted by laboratories given the need for a clear answer on protection and safety in a person, relatively healthy groups that have no complications such as serious illnesses are taken into account, immunosuppressants, or pregnancies. Therefore, you never get tested on pregnant people.

"But this does not mean that the vaccine is contraindicated for them, it was only not evaluated by pharmaceutical laboratories and now it was up to the public authority to observe that everything works out in this group. But it would be a mistake to say that it is contraindicated when something has simply not been measured specifically in pregnant women," he clarified.

Nursing women are at risk of getting vaccinated?

As Ferreccio explained in the previous case, no studies have been conducted with pregnant women or nurses but that does not mean they will have an adverse reaction or do not generate an immune response.

The doctor said that "not vaccinating nursing women is definitely an exaggeration and they have no justification. I mean,, a person who is breast-feeding has no problem, nothing's going to happen to her or her son.".

Can people with hypertension have complications with the vaccine?

For people with hypertension, their greatest risk is COVID, clarified Ferreccio.

He explained that the vaccine does not produce any reaction to hypertensive patients, "Only if it's one of those people who gets super stressed could the pressure go up a little bit if it scares it out that they paint it. But that's all".

This note was originally published by Ocote Agency and Bad Thorn Check

Verified is part of the Alliance #CoronaVirusFacts, composed of more than 100 data verifiers from 70 different countries that combat disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort is led by the International Fact Checking Network. Find the verifications of this international alliance with hashtags #CoronaVirusFacts and #DatosCoronaVirus.
We also integrate the network LatamChequea Coronoavirus, a collaborative effort by verification teams from Latin America and Spain in times of health crisis to combat the infodemic.

Read full note