Many COVID-19 vaccines are currently available around the world. Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Spikevax, and Janssen are the manufacturers of the 4 vaccines approved for US use. Other vaccines are available around the world or are in the process to be added to the Emergency Use List of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The COVID-19 vaccines can prevent most variants of the virus. Even if you are vaccinated, there is still the possibility of illness from variants. The Omicron variant, for example, is more contagious that the Delta variant. For those who have not been vaccinated, it can cause severe infections. Booster doses are necessary to reduce the risk of developing a new illness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved bivalent formulations of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations. These boosters were call “updated boosters”. Due to the presence of the omicron subvariants, BA.4 (or BA.5), they should provide better protection against COVID-19. These boosters are available to Americans over 12 years of age.
There are many vaccine options in the United States. There are many vaccine options available in the United States. However, distribution can vary from one country to another. For more information about vaccine distribution in your region, contact your local or national health office.
Primary vaccine series For Most People
All ages can receive the CoviD-19 vaccine. For people older than 5 years, booster doses are recommend.
- Pfizer-BioNTech. Pfizer BioNTech was approv by the USA as a monovalent, multi-RNA vaccine. The vaccine is available in three doses for children aged 6 months to 4 years, and two doses for people five and older.
- Moderna. The monovalent mRNA vaccine is approved for people 6 months or older. It is administere in two doses. One month apart.
- Johnson & Johnson/Janssen can be administered in one dose to persons aged 18 and older who are unable to or unwilling to receive the Pfizer BioNTech/Moderna vaccines.
- Novavax. This vaccination is for adults aged 18 and over. It is administered in two doses spaced every 3-8 weeks.
Primary Vaccination Series for Moderate To Severely Immunocompromised
Patients who have had a bone marrow/stem cell transplant or an organ transplant are considered to be moderately and severely immunocompromis. This includes many people who have been diagnos as having cancer. These people may not be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. It is therefore recommend to take an additional dose of the vaccine or to receive a booster dose.
These patients should receive an additional dose COVID vaccine. This primary series includes three doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccines or two doses of the Janssen vaccine. A booster dose does not include an additional dose. It is part of the primary vaccine series. The additional dose should administer at least 28 days after the last one.
Updated booster dose. The FDA approved updated bivalent boosters for adults aged 12 and over. These boosters differ from the monovalent boosters that you may have previously received. Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech updated boosters are available as single booster doses for people over 18 (for Moderna) and 12 (for Pfizer BioNTech). An updated booster can administer two months after the last series of vaccines or one of the original boosters. The updated booster can only give to people over 12 years of age. They will not be able to receive the original (monovalent) mRNA booster. FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved “mix and match” booster doses. You can get either booster, regardless of which vaccine series you have received. Children between 5 and 11 years old will still receive the original Pfizer BioNTech booster.
Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax vaccines can cause tiredness, muscle pain, headaches, joint pain, and pain at the injection site. These side effects are common and usually resolve within three days. Side effects may be more severe if you take the second dose. They should usually disappear within three to five days. Notify your doctor if side effects persist beyond three days.
An uncommon side effect of 2-shot COVID-19 vaccines is swelling at the armpit. This could mistakenly be breast cancer. This side effect may cause your mammogram to delay by up to one month after the COVID-19 vaccine.
Side effects of the Janssen vaccine include nausea, fatigue, and headaches. These side effects usually last for a few hours and are mild to moderate.
Safety for Patients with Cancer
Experts recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone who has been diagnosing with cancer and is currently receiving treatment, such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Your chance of dying from COVID-19 is nearly twice as high than if you have not been diagnosing with cancer. The vaccine should only administer to people who have experienced an allergic reaction to any vaccine component. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine based on your medical history.
The COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial did not include patients with cancer. However, the vaccines included the flu vaccine as well as the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination. Some vaccines are safe to administer during cancer treatment, but others, like the live virus vaccines, should not be. COVID-19 vaccines aren’t live virus vaccines and can administer either during or after cancer treatment.
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated
The CDC recommends that you return to your normal activities even if COVID-19 levels are low. A mask indoors recommend if you live in an area where there are high levels of spread. The majority of people have not been fully vaccinating against COVID-19 in the 2 weeks following their last dose. Some areas may require you to wear masks or keep your distance. These precautions could require by federal, local, or state laws. To find out which precautions are still necessary, check with your local government.