The COVID vaccines are being rolled out across the United States and Canada, beginning with those living and working in Seniors' Homes, and soon to be followed by older adults and essential workers in the community.
There are 2 vaccines approved for use, one manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech, the other by Moderna.
Both vaccines require 2 doses, about 3 weeks apart, and have 94-95% efficacy overall, although relatively few older adults were included in the clinical trials.
My Take Home Messages about the COVID Vaccines in Older Adults with Frailty:
- All older adults who haven't had a previous severe allergic reaction to a vaccine should be offered a vaccine against COVID-19
- Two doses are required for the vaccine to be as effective as possible
- Between and after doses of vaccine, good infection control practices should continue
- The most common side effects after a vaccine are a sore arm, fatigue, headache and muscle aches
- Older adults in the clinical trials of the vaccines had fewer side effects than those in a younger age group
Watch the Video for More Details!
Many of my patients and colleagues are asking about the potential side effects and adverse reactions after a first or second dose of vaccine, and I took the time to review the data we have so far. I explain what to expect after vaccination and the potential risks and benefits to frail older adults in my video, below:
COVID-19 Vaccines: Authorized vaccines - Canada.ca Health Canada website link about the vaccines currently being given in Canada
COVID-19 vaccine safety: Weekly report on adverse effects following immunization - Canada.ca Updates about adverse effects following immunization for the the COVID vaccines (in Canada)
Local Reactions, Systemic Reactions, Adverse Events, and Serious Adverse Events: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine website with information about adverse reactions from the clinical trial of the Moderna vaccine
Reactions and Adverse Events of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine CDC website with information about adverse reactions from the clinical trial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Clinical trial of the Moderna vaccine from the New England Journal of Medicine
Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine - Clinical trial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from the New England Journal of Medicine
Related from The Wrinkle:
Coronavirus - The Basics for Older Adults
Talking to an Expert About the Coronavirus
How to Optimize your Aging Immune System
What you Need to Know about Face Masks and COVID
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