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Feb 16, 2021
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An important vaccine. The expert answers questions about the coronavirus vaccine

Our expert – Director of the Institute of Medical Parasitology, Tropical and Transmissible Diseases named after E.I. Martsinovsky, Sechenov University of the Ministry of Health of Russia, virologist Alexander Lukashev.

Is the person just vaccinated contagious?

– This is completely out of the question. Such a danger could exist only if a live vaccine, that is, one containing the virus itself, was used. And in all registered vaccines there is no live virus, there are only its fragments. And although the immune system perceives the fact of vaccination as a meeting with a virus, it is impossible to get sick really after it. And become contagious too.

Why is vaccination carried out not in one step, like the flu shot, but in two?

– Most vaccines give limited effectiveness the first time. Therefore, for the immune system to learn to respond faster and stronger to the pathogen, several injections are required. As for the flu, there is simply no time to introduce the vaccine in two stages, because this virus is updated annually.

Why shouldn’t you postpone vaccination?

– It is important to get vaccinated as quickly as possible, especially because now much more infectious strains of COVID-19 are actively spreading in the world, in particular the British and South African ones. Now there is a race against time between our vaccination campaign and the spread of these strains. So far, Russia has a head start in comparison with other countries – about 2–3 months.

How to prepare for vaccination? And what rules to follow after the first stage?

– To date, there is no convincing data on the influence of any external data on the effectiveness of vaccination. But in order for the vaccination to be as successful as possible, it is highly advisable for a few days before and after the vaccination to avoid any physical and mental stress that lowers the immune defense. In particular, one must refrain from drinking alcohol, swimming in an ice hole, visiting a bathhouse, etc.

It is also very important, both before and after the first stage of vaccination, to continue to comply with all anti-epidemic measures, since the protection has not yet been formed within 3 weeks. The second stage of vaccination is carried out exactly after 3 weeks, it is no coincidence, because just on the 21st day, the peak of the immune response occurs in the body. And at this moment, the effectiveness of the second vaccination will be maximum.

Is it possible for people with chronic diseases?

– Vaccinations are not given during any acute illness or in case of exacerbation of chronic pathologies, and they are also prohibited to be given to people suffering from immunodeficiency or taking medications that reduce immunity (anticancer drugs, for example).

Do I need to be tested for COVID-19 before vaccination?

– It’s not obligatory. Even if you get vaccinated during the latent course of the coronavirus infection, nothing terrible will happen. But if at the time of vaccination a person has clear signs of ARVI, then the immune response will be unpredictable, that is, the vaccine may have little effect. Therefore, on the day of vaccination, a general examination by a doctor and measurement of body temperature is mandatory. If the temperature exceeds 37 ° C, vaccination is not carried out.

Is it normal to feel sick after vaccination?

– Weakness, headache, body aches, noticeable soreness at the injection site, and fever (sometimes slight, sometimes significant, up to 38–39 ° C) are very common after vaccination. If the high temperature lasts no longer than 1-2 days, and the injection site hurts for no longer than 3 days, this is the norm, but if these symptoms last longer, you should consult a doctor. Until this time, if the temperature rises after vaccination, you can resort to taking, for example, paracetamol, and with a pronounced local reaction, you can take antihistamines.

Do I need to do an antibody test after vaccination?

– As for the number of antibodies, it is important to understand that the level of protection does not directly depend on this indicator. Practice has proven that people can get sick (albeit in a mild form) even with a high titer of antibodies in the blood, at the same time and in their complete absence, a person can be perfectly protected if he has developed reliable cellular and humoral immunity (the so-called memory cells). Therefore, it makes no sense to run after vaccination every now and then to donate blood for antibodies, checking how much their level has risen. This information will not say anything, especially if the test results were obtained from different laboratories.

How many people in Russia need to be vaccinated to feel the effect of vaccination?

– The Ministry of Health and the government set a goal to vaccinate 60% of the adult population. A tangible effect should be expected when at least 20-30 million people are vaccinated. In percentage terms, this is from 10 to 20% of the population.

There are contraindications, it is necessary to consult a doctor

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