COVID-19 vaccines have similarities, differences to other immunizations

Dec 9, 2020, 7:14 AM | Updated: 8:16 am

Thanksgiving surge...

Local doctors say COVID-19 vaccines may utilize some new technologies, but overall, they're looking to achieve the same end goal of any other immunization. (IMAGE: KSL Newsradio)

(IMAGE: KSL Newsradio)

MURRAY, Utah — With COVID-19 vaccination plans already being rolled-out in many parts of the world, doctors are trying to better educate the public on how the various immunizations work.

COVID-19 vaccines similar to other immunizations

A recent review from the FDA has confirmed the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, although plenty of Americans remain hesitant; possibly uneasy with how quickly things have progressed. 

Doctor Bill Cosgrove, a retired pediatrician based in Murray, says while some of the COVID-19 vaccination technology may be new, the end goal is no different from any other vaccine

“It speeds things up and gets you to where you usually are by day 5 of the illness, without having to have the illness,” he explains. “So, as soon as the virus enters your body, you are ready to counter-attack [and] ready to defend yourself.”

In other words, the vaccine acts less like a shield and more like an encyclopedia for your immune system.

“It doesn’t keep you from getting infected, it doesn’t keep the virus from entering your body,” he says. “It sets up the timeframe that your body’s immune system is ready to fight it off as soon as it enters.”

‘The Vaccines: Hope on the Horizon.’

And for those concerned about the unintended consequences if the vaccine were to linger, Doctor Cosgrove says that’s misguided since it’s not intended to stay in our systems for very long.

“The vaccine itself only stays in our body for a week or ten days,” he says.

Everyone getting vaccinated will require two doses, but beyond that, medical experts are saying it won’t require yearly updates, like for example, influenza does.

“Most vaccines give you long-term immunity. Ten years probably with this vaccine,” he explains. “That’s unknown yet, but it’s likely to give fairly long-term immunity.”

The big difference, according to Doctor Cosgrove, is the influenza virus rapidly mutates over the course of one year, while the COVID-19 virus appears to mutate much slower.


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COVID-19 vaccines have similarities, differences to other immunizations