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DNA Explainer: Does getting COVID-19 vaccine shot mean I'm completely safe from coronavirus?

UK health officials expect to have up to 4 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by December end, as it starts its vaccination process on Tusday.

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DNA Explainer: Does getting COVID-19 vaccine shot mean I'm completely safe from coronavirus?
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As the world awaits to be inoculated, Britain on Tuesday is all gearing up to start giving the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Less than a week after Britain became the first European country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, it is set to begin vaccination in England, Wales and Scotland.

Initially the first shot of the vaccine will be available at 50 hospitals. The country's National Health Service will give priority to vaccinating people over the age of 80, frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine need to be stored under strict conditions and give each recipient two doses, three weeks apart.

UK health officials expect to have up to 4 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of December.

How the process works

- The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is developed with new messenger RNA technology, using a manufactured fragment of the coronavirus' genetic code.

- The vaccine is then injected into the arm of the recipient.

- The immunization is given in two doses, three weeks apart.

Side effects of the vaccine

- As per Pfizer, side effects in trial volunteers were mostly mild to moderate, and cleared up quickly.

- The most severe side effects occurred after the second dose - fatigue in 3.8 per cent of volunteers and headache in 2 per cent.

- Older adults tended to report fewer and milder adverse events.

Protection the vaccine provides

- The vaccine prevented COVID-19 illness seven days after the second injection - which is about a month after the first shot.

- Clinical trials so far have not been designed to determine if an immunized person can still spread the coronavirus to someone else.

-  Some vaccines, such as hepatitis A, do provide such protection - known as sterilizing immunity, but others do not.

- COVID-19 vaccine makers focused trials on determining whether the drug stopped people from getting ill.

- It will also be several more months before it becomes clear how long the vaccination will protect someone from coronavirus infection.

However vaccination does not mean that we will be back to normal life soon. Since there is no evidence that the immunization prevents transmission of the virus and no vaccine is 100 per cent effective, scientists call for continued vigilance, including mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing.

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