With the first doses of Covid-19 vaccine being administered across the United States, questions abound about who can safely get them.

by Speakin’ Out News

A dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is prepared.

In the latest news, history was made by African-American scientist Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, being praised by lead Covid authority, Anthony Fauci. Then, an African-American nurse, Sandra Lindsay, from Queens, New York, took the first federally approved Pfizer covid vaccine yesterday.

In local news, Huntsville Hospital just recently received on Tuesday 6,825 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. WAAY-TV31 reported a two-dose vaccine, one dose administered on day one, and the second dose on day 21. The hospital system is prepared and will give out those two doses. Vaccines will begin today, Wednesday, December 16th.

Even though vaccines are now being distributed around the nation and the state of Alabama, experts and the medical community have an uphill battle to convince Black and Brown Americans to trust the vaccine.

Black Americans are undoubtedly the most disproportionately and vulnerable race to the coronavirus due to pre-existing conditions, yet doubt looms about taking the vaccine. Questions are rising.

 So what should you know about the Pfizer vaccine?

 Pregnant people

The Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, hasn’t yet been tested in pregnant people — in fact none of the vaccines in development have been. Drug and vaccine makers are always reluctant to include pregnant people in clinical initial trials for fear of injuring a developing fetus or threatening a pregnancy.

For now, the CDC’s assessment is that pregnant people should be offered a chance to get the vaccine, but should informed it hasn’t yet been tested in the population.

 People with allergies

Reports that two nurses in Britain developed anaphylaxis after being immunized with the Pfizer vaccine last week triggered concerns about whether people with allergies should be vaccinated. Both the women had serious allergies and carried EpiPens.

People who have allergies to foods, animals, insects, latex, and other common allergies can be vaccinated. Likewise, people with allergies to oral drugs, even if they are the oral equivalent to an injectable drug, can take the vaccine, the CDC guidance said. Included in this group are people who have had a non-serious allergic reaction to an injection — though not anaphylaxis — and people who have a family history of anaphylaxis, but who have not experienced it themselves.

 People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or an injectable therapy can be vaccinated, but with caution. These people should undergo a risk assessment with their care provider.

 People who have a severe allergic reaction to a dose of this vaccine should not receive another dose, the Food and Drug Administration’s fact sheet on the vaccine said. And people who have a history of a severe allergic reaction to any of the components of the Pfizer vaccine should not be vaccinated with it, the CDC guidance said.

 Children and teens younger than 16

The Pfizer vaccine was authorized for use in people 16 years of age and older. While the company is now studying its use in adolescents aged 12 to 15, data from that work were not part of the company’s application to the FDA for an emergency use authorization. So for now, the vaccine isn’t authorized for use in anyone below the age of 16.

 People with HIV Pfizer enrolled some HIV-positive volunteers with stable infections in its Phase 2/3 clinical trial, but there are not enough data to date to do an analysis of this population.

 The CDC said people with HIV can be vaccinated, but should be counseled that the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in immunocompromised people is still unclear and they should continue to take other measures to protect themselves against infection.

People on immunosuppressant therapy

People who take drugs to suppress their immune systems — organ recipients, for instance — can be vaccinated as long as they don’t have another condition for which vaccination is not advised. People who have recently received or plan to soon receive another vaccination Co-administration of vaccines is common, and a useful tool for vaccine delivery. It’s easier to give someone two shots at once than to ask them to come in twice. If it turns out people need regular Covid vaccine boosters, for instance, it’s likely they would be administered when people get their flu shots.

But in order to be sure vaccines can be co-administered without undermining the effectiveness of any of the vaccines, studies need to be conducted, and there hasn’t been time. So for now the CDC is recommending that people not get any other vaccinations in the two weeks before or two weeks after getting a Covid vaccine.

 That said, if someone inadvertently gets the Pfizer vaccine less than two weeks after getting another immunization, they do not need to repeat either vaccination, the CDC said.

 People who got the Pfizer vaccine for their first Covid-19 shot

Anyone who gets a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine needs to get the Pfizer vaccine for their second shot 21 days later. (Actually, the shot can be given within a 17-day to 21-day window.)

The same will be true of the Moderna vaccine, which will likely receive an emergency use authorization later this week.

 At some point in time, research may show Covid vaccines can be used interchangeably. But until the issue is studied, the vaccines need to be used as authorized. No getting the Pfizer vaccine for the first dose and the Moderna the second, or vice versa.