A lot of people will say they're waiting to get a COVID-19 vaccine to see if there are more reactions or any long-term issues. Science tells us that's highly unlikely.
“But even some of the things that we worry about as potential complications of vaccines, they usually do turn up quite quickly, so it's extraordinarily rare to have months and months later, significant side effects from a vaccine,” said Dr. Susanne Doblecki-Lewis.
Dr. Doblecki-Lewis is the principal investigator for the Moderna trial at the University of Miami. They started last July, administering shots to a highly diverse group of hundreds of patients, diverse in gender, race and ethnicity, but also in age and comorbidities.
Of that group, none experienced any serious side effects.
They're now in the trial phase where they are giving vaccines to the people who got placebos.
Dr. Doblecki-Lewis explained how vaccines were able to get authorized for emergency use quickly.
“I think it's that balance between needing to stop the pandemic spread and all of the resulting really deaths that were happening with waiting a long time to look for side effects that were very unlikely to occur,” said Dr. Doblecki-Lewis.
Vaccine makers have nearly a year of data in trials and now larger numbers from use in the general population. That's enough to soon apply for permanent use authorization.
Dr. Doblecki-Lewis says the government's “vaccine adverse events database” is also large enough now that they would have picked up anything serious.
There is new important positive data showing vaccines are not only preventing deaths and serious illness, but slowing transmission.
“The answer is it decreases even getting the virus at all by about 90%. And a study that was done with health care workers and first responders, which is really important and critical information because it tells us that you know it's even more helpful,” said Dr. Doblecki-Lewis.
Just this week, the National Institutes of Health said it's enrolling thousands of adults in studies to see why there were allergic reactions to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Most of the rare, severe allergic reactions happened in people with a history of allergies.