But the president is also aware that much of his political base is made up of supporters who refuse to wear masks and so-called anti-vaxxers wary of the Covid-19 vaccine. After months of arguing against public health experts, people familiar with his thinking have said, Mr. Trump feels, on some level, that he doesn’t want to be seen as ultimately giving in to the advice of the same people he denigrated. .
With the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine starting in the United States, here are the answers to some questions you might be wondering:
- If I live in the United States, when can I get the vaccine? While the exact order of vaccines may vary by state, most will likely prioritize medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help you.
- When can I resume a normal life after being vaccinated? Life will only return to normal when society as a whole is sufficiently protected against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they will only be able to immunize a few percent of their citizens within the first two months. The unvaccinated majority will always remain vulnerable to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show strong protection against the disease. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they are infected, as they show only mild symptoms, if any. Scientists do not yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for now, even vaccinated people will have to wear masks, avoid crowds inside, etc. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we, as a society, reach this goal, life may start to move closer to something normal by fall 2021.
- If I have been vaccinated, do I still have to wear a mask? Yes, but not forever. Here’s why. Vaccines against the coronavirus are injected deep into muscles and stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. This appears to be sufficient protection to prevent the vaccinated person from getting sick. But what’s unclear is whether it’s possible for the virus to bloom in the nose – and be sneezed or exhaled to infect other people – even though antibodies elsewhere in the body have mobilized to prevent the vaccinated person to get sick. Clinical vaccine trials have been designed to find out whether people vaccinated are protected from the disease – not whether they might still spread the coronavirus. Based on studies of the flu vaccine and even of patients infected with Covid-19, researchers have reason to hope that those vaccinated will not spread the virus, but more research is needed. In the meantime, everyone – even those who have been vaccinated – will have to think of themselves as possible silent spreaders and continue to wear a mask. Learn more here.
- Will it hurt? What are the side effects? The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is given by injection into the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection into your arm won’t be different from any other vaccine, but the rate of short-lived side effects seems higher than a flu shot. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines and none of them reported serious health problems. Side effects, which may resemble symptoms of Covid-19, last for about a day and appear more likely after the second dose. Initial reports of vaccine trials suggest that some people may need to take time off work because they feel unwell after receiving the second dose. In the Pfizer study, about half developed fatigue. Other side effects occurred in at least 25-33% of patients, sometimes more, including headache, chills and muscle pain. Although these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign that your own immune system is preparing a powerful response to the vaccine that will provide long-lasting immunity.
- Will mRNA vaccines change my genes? No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to stimulate the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is ultimately destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slip inside. The cell uses mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any given time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce to make their own proteins. Once these proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules made by our cells can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is designed to resist the enzymes in the cell for a bit longer, so that the cells can make additional viral proteins and elicit a stronger immune response. But mRNA can only last a few days at most before being destroyed.
Some heavily followed online supporters have even criticized him in recent days for promoting the vaccine. “You know, Trump, probably 80% of your base doesn’t want this vaccine,” DeAnna Lorraine, a QAnon conspiracy theorist with a large following on InfoWars, said last week. “I don’t care who takes it. I don’t care if Jesus takes it. I am not taking the vaccine.
Public health officials said they were happy the vice president was vaccinated in public, as well as surgeon general Jerome Adams, despite the president’s lack of interest in sending a similar public health message.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Dr. Vinay Gupta, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Washington. “The question is why don’t they do it together, six feet apart?” It would be really powerful for the President, who has received exceptional treatment, to say that even despite the best care, it is important that I receive this vaccine.
Mr Trump’s decision, so far, not to get the vaccine, Dr Gupta said, risked undermining the confidence Mr Pence might instill among skeptics who draw inspiration from the president alone.
“The fact that he doesn’t get it makes you wonder if he’s worried,” Dr Gupta said. He also said the administration’s confused messages – hailing the vaccine while throwing holiday celebrations – risked “giving false assurances to the American people that the vaccine is here and that vigilance is no longer. necessary”.
White House officials said Mr. Trump did not need to be vaccinated because he still had the protective effects of the cocktail of monoclonal antibodies that was used to treat him against the virus in October. But Dr Gupta said that was a misinterpretation of the results and that there was “no scientific reason not to get vaccinated”.