6. covid-19 vaccines
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Eric: [00:00:16] Hey everyone, it's Eric Mueller. Welcome back to The Eric Mueller Show. I'm flying solo on the mic again this time around for a quick episode discussing a very important subject and that is COVID-19 vaccinations. So if you've been following the news recently, you probably are aware that we have two vaccines that are approved for emergency use here in the US. We’ll talk about those, we'll talk about the differences between those, and we'll also touch on the similarity between those as far as how they work, what their mechanism of action is in vaccinating you against COVID-19.
We will talk a little bit about when you might expect to be able to get a dose of one of these vaccines. We’ll talk a little bit about the timing of each of those doses. So the two current approved vaccines are two-dose series. So we'll talk about the timing, and how those differ between those two, and then we'll also touch on what to expect with the doses. So you may have heard of some side effects that you might expect with the first and/or second dose of these vaccines, so we'll talk a little bit about that, and [00:01:16] I’ll also will share with you my personal experience with the COVID-19 vaccination having been vaccinated. I just received my second dose actually fairly recently. So I'll be able to share with you a little bit about my story with that, and we'll have a good time.
So the first of the two approved vaccines we’ll talk about Moderna first. So the Moderna vaccine it’s what’s called an mRNA vaccine. It's a two-shot series. So you get one shot, and then 28 days later, you would be given your second.
Now there is a four-day wiggle period on either side of that, so you could get the shot as early as 24 days or as late as 32 days. Now, that's the current information that we're going on. If you look at some articles and read a little deeper into it, you'll probably find some research that shows that you could get the dose a lot later than 32 days. So they're not operating under that right now. I think they wanted it to get out and get to as many people as fast as possible. So they didn't want people to wait even [00:02:16] longer.
But I think as time goes on, we'll probably see that that people could get it even later, but the shot is given just the same as a flu shot. So it's just right on your upper deltoid muscle. So, you know, really you shouldn't feel any pain at all when you get this shot. Should be just like a flu shot in that regard.
The vaccine is not like the flu shot in the fact that it is not made from protein. So it doesn't contain any eggs or you know, checking particles. So if you have an egg allergy, fear not you can still definitely get the Moderna COVID vaccine.
You do have to be 18 years or older to get that. So currently the CDC is saying that that you should not be given the vaccine if you're younger than 18 years of age, and also one caveat with that is that if you have a history of a severe allergic reaction, which is called anaphylaxis. So it's when you have a swelling of your throat, that type of reaction would be very severe. So if you have any history of that, the place that you get [00:03:16] the vaccine would likely just have you wait around a little bit longer to make sure that you don't have any problems.
And because it's a new vaccine, most people will have to wait around just a little bit. About 15 minutes or so just to make sure that they don't have an allergic reaction to that vaccine when they get that. So that's the first vaccine is the Moderna one.
You probably have heard of the other vaccine. So this one is a vaccine created with the combination of two companies. So Pfizer and BioNTech. I actually just learned that today that it's not pronounced Bio ‘N Tech. It's Bee-on-Tech or Bi-on Tech. Actually heard, watched a video of the CEO saying that on YouTube just a little bit ago. So you can go look at that if you're curious as to where I got that information.
But again like the Moderna, this is an mRNA type of vaccination. Like the Moderna, it is also a two-dose series, but the big difference here, is that rather than 28 days between each dose. It's actually 21. So it's three weeks instead of four weeks in that. It's also given same as a flu shot you [00:04:16] just get that that needle right in the upper part of your arm in the deltoid muscle.
And similarly to Moderna, it's an mRNA vaccine. So it doesn't contain any eggs or any type of chicken materials that at all. So the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, you can get that if you're 16 years or older so a little bit different there. The Moderna one is 18, and similarly to Moderna, if you've had any type of severe allergic reaction history to anything, your healthcare provider, when they give you the vaccination, they'll probably have you stick around a little longer.
So that's a similarity with that as well. But I mean, really I would get you know, get whatever vaccine you have available to you. I wouldn't necessarily wait to get one over the other. If you have the ability to get the Pfizer, get the Pfizer. If you have the ability to get the Moderna, I would get the Moderna.
The one major difference between the two vaccines from the healthcare providers’ standpoint is the storage. The [00:05:16] Moderna vaccine is stored in a normal freezer temperature and can be moved to the fridge to thaw before you start using the vaccine. But the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, it needs to be stored ultracold.
So there's several facilities that don't have the capability to store the vaccines so that led them to you know, probably give the Moderna more so than the Pfizer/BioNTech initially. I actually just read some articles though recently that that Pfizer is now saying that it's likely that their vaccine can be stored at regular freezer temperature.
So that will aid in the distribution of that vaccine and the storage of that vaccine, but by and large the two vaccinations that we have available to us. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine, they're both the same type. So you heard me say mRNA. So we'll dive into there and talk a little bit about what that is. Talk a little bit about what makes a vaccine an mRNA vaccine [00:06:16] and how that's different from other vaccinations that we have.
So how do these vaccines work? How does an mRNA vaccine operate? So as you heard me mention earlier, so it's not made in the same way as a flu shot. So it does not use chicken eggs or take protein from those at all. So it avoids that allergy, which is nice.
But an mRNA vaccination, so what you can think of it as. It is not in any way COVID-19 particles in there. That is not what it is. There's, you cannot get COVID-19 from getting the vaccination.
Although you can get the side effects. But the mRNA is basically a harmless unit of code. You can think of it as code. So it teaches your body how to identify what people are calling the spike protein of that COVID-19 molecule. So you've definitely seen on the news if you've watched it, the picture of what the COVID-19 virus looks like. So it's that little kind of ball with the spiky little [00:07:16] protrusions on the outer part of the circle.
So that is what the vaccine is teaching your body to recognize. So basically, once that little piece of mRNA that little piece of code gets inside of your cells, your immune cells. Your cells learn how to make that piece, and then after it learns how to make it, it just simply breaks down that piece and gets rid of that. So after its learned how to do that and gotten it out of your body. So that's why you don't, you know, feel the side effects forever because it's going to remove it.
The cells then will basically have a piece of that displayed on their surface, on their cells, so that they're ready to attack if that virus was to come into your body. So think of an mRNA vaccination kind of is a little computer piece of code that you are using that in and you’re playing Inception and putting that inside of your immune cells. Teaching them how to recognize what the COVID virus looks like.
I’d just [00:08:16] like to add a quick piece of information to that. So mRNA vaccinations cannot alter your DNA. So you may have heard that in the news that a vaccine might mess with your DNA and things of that nature. So that is simply not true. So with the research that they have thus far ,the mRNA little piece of code that goes into your immune cells. So they know that it never actually enters that nucleus of your cell. So the nucleus that's the brain of your cell you can think of, and they know that that mRNA little piece of code doesn't ever actually enter that brain, so it's not able to actually affect your DNA in any way.
Rest assured that your DNA will not be altered. There will not be a chip implanted in you if you get a COVID-19 vaccination.
So I just wanted to quickly describe the phases that the CDC had created for the rollout of the vaccine. So you probably have heard of this if you've been following the news or any type of social media regarding the vaccine, but the CDC decided that they wanted to create [00:09:16] a phased rollout, which I think was a really good idea to make sure that that they're starting with the most high-risk groups and moving out from there.
So the initial part of the phase was Phase 1A, which was those healthcare personnel workers and people in long-term care facilities.
And the Phase 1B and C is a little bit hazier. Phase 1B is frontline, essential workers. Examples of that would be some police officers and firefighters, public transit workers. And also in Phase 1B is people that are ages 75 and older. So they are at, you know higher risk of going to the hospital or having health complications as they age.
But I want you to to know that although the CDC does have this phased rollout that they have created, it is still up to the county public health departments within the states. So even though phase 1B might be full go, even in the county next door to yours, your county might still not be [00:10:16] in that part of the phase, or they might not have certain healthcare providers such as pharmacies or your doctor's office that you go to set up to give that vaccine.
So my advice is to go to your county public health department's website to seek the information that that will give you a more clear picture as far as how the rollout is going to play out in your area. CDC.gov has really good information across the board, and they will direct you to those public health departments as well. But I think it just helps to know that it's not standard across the board for the whole nation as far as this rollout goes.
So if you know someone else's grandparent that got vaccinated, but yours hasn't, your Grandparent hasn't been vaccinated yet. I would say just be patient because it's likely that the county that your grandparent is in hasn't reached that phase, or they haven't figured the rollout to be at that point yet.
So yeah, the rollout I mean, I think it's a really great idea. I do think that it's a very difficult [00:11:16] thing to implement. There's immense pressure on the states and the county public health departments to do that. Definitely contact that local health department, and if you go to to CDC.gov and get to the tab where it shows the vaccine roll out, there's actually a link that clicks that you'll be able to click on to go and contact your local health department.
So they make it real streamlined. But yeah, the rollout is a key part of it. It can confuse people as to why they can't get it right now. I know that there are many people that are curious about when they're going to be able to get the vaccination, and it's tough to give everybody a straight answer as far as when that will happen.
And there is another vaccine that might be coming to the U.S. soon and be approved for emergency use, and that is a vaccine created by Johnson & Johnson.
The unique thing about that is it's actually only one dose. So in my opinion, a lot easier to get out to the masses, if it's just one dose versus two. You [00:12:16] can use half as much vaccine, but some people are a little bit nervous about the efficacy of that.
So, if you've read any of the studies or seen any of the news articles, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations had you know in the 90s as far as efficacy in preventing an infection of COVID-19.
Well, the Johnson and Johnson vaccination, that number is in the 60s.
However, it still has a very, very, very high effectiveness in preventing severe COVID.
So I think that might be the reason why their vaccine will be a great option going forward. There's also some of information coming out of Pfizer that they think you know, there might be reason to just give one of their doses instead of two. So just to do one dose of the Pfizer and be done with it.
So clearly a lot of information coming out. The thing with all these COVID-19 vaccinations is that information changes so rapidly. One day it could be one thing and the next [00:13:16] day, it could be another. So it's really important to keep up with the news.
To keep up with the county public health department in your county, to keep up with what phase they're in so that you know when you can get that vaccination, that's really important. You'll be well informed as far as what information is available.
So the side effects of each vaccine. So a really common and very valid concern on people's mind is what can I expect from getting this vaccine? So once you know that your county public health department or your state has issued news information that you can get the vaccine that you're eligible and you get signed up and you're ready to go. What can you expect?
So the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine both have very similar side effect profiles. So let's say that you go and get the first dose. You don't feel any pain from the shot, but then four hours later you start to feel a little arm soreness. You notice that it's a little more severe than your flu shot arm soreness. Well, that's very normal. So, you [00:14:16] know the arm where you had the shot, it’s likely going to be in pain for probably one to three days.
And sometimes that pain can come and go I feel, but I think it's pretty common to say that it's more severe than the flu shot. You might even experience a little bit of swelling on that side. Some people also experience more severe side effects. Some people experience flu-like side effects such as fever, chills, feeling fatigued, having a headache, having diarrhea or constipation are a few that come to mind.
And the people that actually had COVID-19, had tested positive for it at one point, they experienced some of these flu-like symptoms with their first dose.
Whereas the people that had not had COVID-19, they experienced those flu-like symptoms with their second dose and not their first dose.
So I'll say that one more time just to be clear. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, you [00:15:17] may experience some of these flu-like symptoms with your first dose.
You may also experience them with your second dose.
If a person has not had COVID-19, typically their first dose is just going to be arm soreness.
But when they come back and get their second dose, regardless of if they get the Pfizer/BioNTech or the Moderna. When they get that second dose, whether it's 21 or 28 days later, they will likely feel some of those flu-like symptoms.
So most people, over 50% of people are feeling those flu-like symptoms after the second dose if they previously had not had COVID to the best of their knowledge.
So those side effects like fever, chills fatigue, having a headache.
It can last anywhere from 12 to 36 hours, let's say.
So you're looking at you know, a half day to one and a half days and potentially even longer. I've heard some people say it's lasted two to three days.
But yeah, that second dose. If you look up news articles or search on social media about that, you will [00:16:17] likely see a lot of stories of people getting their second dose and then having these flu-like symptoms for a period of time, and that shouldn't scare you.
Having those symptoms simply means that your body is building that immune response, but it also shouldn't scare you. That you're not getting COVID-19 you when you get those symptoms.
It's simply an indication that the mRNA, that code is working. Your first dose was the primer, and this booster dose is getting you vaccinated to protect against the virus.
So if you're like many people and you experience some of these side effects after you get either your first or second dose of one of the vaccines, you're not alone. You're actually in the majority.
And you might be wondering how can you prevent or maybe treat some of these side effects as they occur?
So over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, Aleve. You can use those to treat these side effects such as headache, you know, [00:17:17] if you run a fever. But a really important thing to know is that you shouldn't take these medicines before you get the vaccine.
There's some conflicting evidence out there whether taking a medication like ibuprofen or Tylenol, which is acetaminophen. They think these medications may impact the effectiveness of the vaccine.
So it's best practice to just wait until after you've gotten the dose and really to just wait until you see if you feel anything before you take a medication.
So I do have some advice for you on scheduling the vaccine as well as treating those side effects. So I think your first dose, you probably would be okay scheduling it anytime during the week. But your second dose, I would really highly encourage you to schedule it towards the end of a week or on a weekend, so if you do have some of those side effects, that you are able to rest and lie down and take it easy while, you know, while you get through that.
After your first dose, if you just have arm soreness, you can go ahead and throw an ice [00:18:17] pack on that, and if you feel some of those flu-like symptoms, go ahead and take some Tylenol or Advil over the counter to alleviate some of those symptoms.
But just make sure to not take it before you get the vaccine, so you're getting the full benefit of that vaccine.
So again, getting vaccinated is the safest way to protect yourself against COVID-19 without having to risk any serious consequences of actually having the virus and getting sick with it.
So if you do get sick with COVID-19, your body does recognize what it is, and they think that there is some immunity after you've been infected, you know, where you won't get infected again for a certain period of time. But all of that is super uncertain, and I certainly know I don't want to risk myself getting sick or possibly getting somebody else sick to somehow build immunity against it.
So the vaccine is really the best way to do that and given the information we currently have, both the Pfizer and Moderna showed really high efficacy in their trials. So [00:19:17] they worked really well against preventing infection from the COVID virus as well as severe disease from the COVID virus, and they also showed a high amount of safety. So there was not a very high amount of bad events happening to the people that that took those vaccinations.
So I just wanted to share with you quickly my story regarding the COVID-19 vaccination. So I actually received my first dose in mid-January.
And after I got that dose, I honestly, I just had a sore arm for I think it was probably about 48 hours. It was really sore. So I got the shot in my left arm. My non-dominant arm. I actually do sleep on my left side primarily. So that was kind of a silly idea. I usually recommend that people get it on an arm that they don't sleep on but so that was a little bit difficult to get through, you know that I guess that was just really one night of it. I didn't have to take any pain medication. I actually didn't use an ice pack or anything with it.
And after about that 48 Hours, the sore are sore arm was gone, and I felt great.
[00:20:17] And then fast forward, you know about a month into the future. So I got the Moderna vaccine. So it was 28-day target that we were shooting for.
I actually was a little bit on the other side of that which is completely fine, but I got it roughly 32 days after my first dose.
And the second dose, I can't really explain why, but I really felt like I wasn't going to have very many side effects with it. Couldn't really explain that, but I was confident going into it that that I wouldn't have too many problems. And I was actually going on a road trip with my fiancé later during the day after I got that vaccine.
So I got the vaccine about 9:30 in the morning and felt completely fine for 12 plus hours. It wasn't until we actually had completed our road trip. We got into to our destination and Illinois at about 11 o'clock, and it wasn't until about midnight that I started to feel a little bit chilled. So I actually had to kind of layer up to go to bed, you know, sweatshirt and sweatpants and felt a little bit chilled in that way.
[00:21:17] But after that night, I woke up and felt pretty good. Felt good for about another 12 to 16 hours. So I got the vaccine on a Friday morning at about 9:30. It was midnight, you know, technically Saturday morning where I felt chilled. Then I woke up Saturday morning and felt perfectly fine until probably about 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. that night, and what I was feeling then was just really fatigued.
And we had done some things during the day. We had gone to Top Golf, you know, we drove around a little bit, but it was weird for me to feel that tired. So I was pretty sure that was a side effect that I was feeling of the vaccination.
And then a little more time went by throughout the night, and I started to feel better. So I really didn't have, you know, very severe side effects. I never felt like I was running a fever, and I think I probably slept through what could have been the worst part of it, but it's so variable the side effects that you could have from it.
Some people really, some people still don't get anything [00:22:17] with their second dose, which is which is pretty crazy. But that doesn't mean that the vaccine didn't work for you. So don't get scared if that happens.
They have found that older people actually don't have as many side effects typically. So as you age, your immune system does decline a little bit, and they think that that has something to do with it, but if you don't have side effects after you get your vaccine, don't worry.
The vaccine still did its job, and it's protecting you against COVID-19.
Sincerely, thank you all a ton for listening to this episode.
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Thank you for listening.
Until next time, Mueller out.
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Voice audio: Written, produced and edited by Eric R. Mueller
EDM music: Produced and edited by Eric R. Mueller