Haven't Experienced Any COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects - Are You Still Protected?
Health experts say COVID-19 vaccine side effects are normal and indicate your immune system is working correctly. But what if you just feel fine after getting jabbed? Does it tell the vaccine isn’t doing anything, or their immune system isn’t reacting at all? Well, it means no such thing.
Most vaccines cause specific side effects, and the COVID-19 vaccines are no different. The general public is constantly reassured that if they experience a sore arm at the injection site or fever, headache, nausea, or tiredness, these are barely the signs that your immune system is functioning well. On the flip side, people who haven’t experienced any COVID-19 vaccine side effects are wholly baffled if their immune system hasn’t been equipped to protect them.
Please be assured that it means no such thing. During the clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine, 50% of candidates experienced no COVID-19 vaccine side effects at all, yet 90% of them developed immunity against the SARS CoV-2 virus. And in the case of the Moderna vaccine, only one in ten people experience side effects, yet it protects 95% of people who take it.
What Happens To Your Body After You Get The COVID-19 Vaccine?
Your body responds to the foreign particles that devise any vaccine via two systems.
The initial response is what is called the innate immune response. This system gets activated immediately after your cells notice that you've been exposed to foreign material, from a fragment to a virus. Its prime objective is to exterminate the intruder. White blood cells (WBCs), known as neutrophils and macrophages, move to the intruder and work to demolish it.
This is the first line of defense, which is relatively brief, lasting hours or days.
The second line of defense takes a few days to weeks to become operative. This is the adaptive immune response that is long-lasting. It depends upon your immune system’s B cells and T cells that learn how to recognize particular intruders; in this case, the spike protein from the coronavirus. When your body gets exposed to the intruder again, even months or years in the future, it’s the immune system’s B cells and T cells that recognize the former foe and start creating the antibodies to wipe it out.
In the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, it takes nearly two weeks for the immune system to generate the adaptive immune response that begets lasting protection against the SARS CoV-2 virus.
When people get vaccinated, the signs you’re noticing for a day or two is the component of the innate immune response - your body’s inflammatory response, intended for steering clear of the foreign particle or intruder that violated your body’s perimeter.
While it differs from person to person how serious the innate response is, it barely relates to the lasting adaptive response.
Long story short, you can’t estimate how well the vaccine may be working within your body depending upon what you can notice from the outside. Different people do generate stronger or weaker immune responses. However, the COVID-19 vaccine side effects won’t tell you how well your immune system is working.
It’s the adaptive immune response that helps your body gain immunity against the virus, not the innate immune response that triggers those early aches, fever, chills, or fatigue.
What Are Side Effects, Anyway?
Side effects are the typical responses to the injection of a foreign particle. These include pain and discomfort in the injection site, fever, headache, nausea, chills, and are intervened by the innate immune response.
Your white blood cells (Neutrophils or macrophages) observe the vaccine molecules and start producing cytokines - the molecular signals that trigger a fever, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, etc. Medical professionals expect these reactions anytime a foreign particle gets injected into the body.
In studies where some candidates received a COVID-19 vaccine, while others received a placebo, it was found that nearly half percent of people aged between 16 and 55 developed a headache. This may be considered a reaction to the vaccine, but a quarter of people who had received merely a placebo also experienced a headache. Therefore, in the case of reasonably common COVID-19 vaccine side effects, it could be pretty challenging to associate them with the vaccine with certainty.
On the other hand, adverse side effects are something that health professionals do not anticipate out of the vaccine. These may include organ failure or severe damage to any part of the body.
The blood clots that led to cease the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution is a rare event, apparently occurring in one-in-a-million frequency. Whether or not the Moderna vaccine causes blood clots are yet to be discovered, but even if researchers confirm it, blood clots shall be an extremely rare side effect.
Also Read: Maskne: How To Treat & Prevent Mask-related Acne Breakouts?
What Component Of The COVID-19 Vaccine Causes Side Effects?
The only active ingredient in both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines is the mRNA instructions that command the recipient cells to generate a viral protein. But these vaccines contain several other components as well that help the mRNA to traverse within your body.
For the vaccine’s mRNA to get into your cells where it can perform its job, it must circumvent the enzymes in the body that would naturally destroy it. For this reason, the scientists wrapped the mRNA in a bubble of lipids that helped them to avert destruction.
Other COVID-19 vaccine ingredients, including polyethylene glycol - a constituent of this lipid bubble - could trigger allergic reactions.
Experienced No COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects - Does It Indicate Weak Immunity?
This is a common cause of concern nowadays. If you don’t experience any COVID-19 vaccine side effects, does it indicate your immune system is weak? Our health professionals are still in the process of interpreting this. Right now, we don’t know this. What we know is that the two US-approved vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are effective regardless of whether or not you have developed any side effects. And there’s no apparent reason that having a dramatic innate response would make your lasting adaptive immune response any better.