Vaccine for Covid-19, what we know today in terms of efficacy and safety

Vaccine for Covid-19, what we know today in terms of efficacy and safety

FAQ, questions and answers on the vaccine for Covid-19: from side effects to efficacy regarding protection and transmissibility of the virus

Frequently asked questions and answers about the Covid-19 vaccine: what current research says

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When weighing the benefit-risk ratio of any treatment, it is always necessary to evaluate on the one hand what could happen with the disease from which one is defending, and on the other what can occur as an advantage with the taking of the treatment. Then the situation is weighed and the doctor, case by case, chooses the most suitable way. In general, the more the ratio is in favor of the latter, the more a treatment is recommended.

The same is also done with vaccines, which, moreover, are administered to healthy people with the aim of counteracting an infection that could arise or in any case making its effects less serious. In this sense, therefore, the evaluation is even more stringent. According to current research, vaccination for the Sars-CoV-2 virus, where it is available, has really changed the overall situation of the infection.

What is the Covid-19 vaccine used for?

For Covid-19, it has been seen how the circulation of the virus before the vaccination period has led to numerous deaths and very serious complications in people affected by the infection, particularly if they are elderly or at risk for diseases, with a dramatic impact on health facilities. Now the numbers, the severity of the cadres and the impact on health systems are profoundly different from those of last winter.

This is confirmed by the most recent data from the Gimbe Foundation which reports, through the statements of its experts, as "according to the latest data from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the effectiveness of the complete vaccination cycle, compared to non-vaccinated people, reaches 82 , 5% on diagnoses, 94.9% on hospitalizations, 97% on ICU admissions and 97.1% on deaths. If looking at the absolute numbers it might paradoxically seem that hospitalizations and deaths are more frequent in vaccinated individuals, comparing the data to the population and standardizing it per 100,000 inhabitants, the lower incidence of serious events in vaccinated with double dose appears very clear.

Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths are reduced by 84.4%, 89.5% and 80% respectively in subjects who have completed the full course compared to those who have not received even a dose of the vaccine. Regardless of the advances in therapies, the vaccine is therefore a fundamental variable in a positive key: the vaccinated, according to the analyzes, have a much lower risk than the unvaccinated in hospital admission, of resorting to intensive care or of death.

Does the vaccine make you immune to Covid-19?

In short, what is known today? Studies say that with the full course of vaccination for the Sars-CoV-2 virus, the chances of severe infection, hospitalization and intensive care treatments, as well as the risk of death, are drastically reduced. In this sense, vaccines today have clearly proved effective, both for the subject and in terms of public health. It is in fact important that the vaccine is able to limit, thanks to the stimulus on the defensive system, any complications that unfortunately can arise in the most serious cases. This is a fundamental goal.

In this sense, it happens more or less what is observed with the vaccination for the flu (the data relating to the vaccine for Sars-CoV-2 are even more valid in this sense): in the face of total protection in a significant percentage of people, which is around 60%, the vaccine aims above all to limit the risks of serious manifestations of the infection, which could be very dangerous in those at particular risk, such as the elderly and people with various chronic diseases. In the case of Covid-19, the protective efficacy of the vaccine appears to be higher.

As if that were not enough, if the number of vaccinated people increases, the circulation of the virus tends to decrease. Even with the Delta variant, now dominant in Italy, vaccination prophylaxis therefore represents a fundamental defense weapon: in prevention, the most important we have. For this reason, the possibility of making vaccination compulsory is being discussed.

Can anyone who is vaccinated transmit the virus?

But be careful: we must not think that being vaccinated means a "free all". We must not let our guard down, even if vaccinated, and we must always pay attention to behavior and follow the rules. Vaccination in fact, as mentioned, cannot give the absolute certainty of not contracting the virus, although there are studies that show how the vaccine can also be useful in this sense. The risks are obviously significantly lower for those who are immunized than for those who are not vaccinated.

As reported by the site "Doctor … but is it true that?": "According to the studies available, the risk of contracting and transmitting the infection may depend on the characteristics of the vaccinated individual, on the viral load with which it comes into contact, but also the type of vaccine and viral variant it runs into ". In this sense, as a research published in the Lancet and relating to the delta variant points out, it seems that in addition to being more contagious, it would increase the risk of hospitalization in those who are not protected.

What do we know about the side effects of the vaccine?

Having made this necessary clarification, pending studies that can definitively clarify the many questions that we still ask ourselves, let's see what is known about the side effects of the vaccine, on the basis of the latest report of the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA), made known in early August.

The data collected by the Pharmacovigilance System report the suspected adverse reaction reports registered in the National Pharmacovigilance Network between 27 December 2020 and 26 July 2021 for the four vaccines in use in the vaccination campaign. In the period considered, 84,322 reports were received out of a total of 65,926,591 doses administered (reporting rate of 128 per 100,000 doses), of which 87.1% referred to non-serious events, such as pain at the injection site, fever, asthenia / fatigue, muscle aches.

Serious reports correspond to 12.8% of the total, with a rate of 16 serious events per 100,000 doses administered. Typically, the reaction occurred in the first two days after vaccine administration. In general, the most commonly observed discomforts were very general, such as fever, weakness, headache, muscle aches, pain at the injection site.

The more serious ones, with a picture reminiscent of the classical flu, generally occurred after the second dose of Messenger RNA vaccine and after the first viral vector vaccine. The report also points out the problems related to the so-called heterologous vaccination, with different vaccines administered in the first and second injection: under the age of 60, undesirable effects were reported in 29 cases per 100,000 doses administered. It should also be noted that, according to the report, even in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 the reporting rate of side effects remained similar: 27 adverse events per 100,000 doses administered.

Read also

  • Heterologous vaccination for Covid-19, what we know today
  • Covid-19 vaccination, how to behave in particular cases and in the presence of contraindications
  • Things to know about vaccinations
  • Covid-19 vaccines: what they are, how they work and the point about safety
  • Covid-19, the new variants that worry

Tag: Coronavirus Vaccines

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