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How safe you are after first dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine?

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A recent research released on the preprint site medRxiv* evaluated the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines against SARS CoV-2 and Covid 19 variants of concern (VOC) among HCWs after their first and second doses. Additionally, this research evaluated the efficacy of a single dosage of the mRNA vaccine 16 weeks after immunisation.

Due to a vaccine shortage, the Quebec Immunization Committee (QIC) advised that the Canadian province of Quebec postpone administering the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to maximise coverage of the first dose.

This suggestion was made to save the majority of the high-risk population, which includes older adults and frontline workers, from severe COVID-19 infection and mortality.

The researchers accomplished this by comparing vaccination rates among HCWs who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 to those who tested negative. The present research comprised 5,316 cases and 53,160 controls.

A single dose of the mRNA vaccine was found to have a VE of 70% against any SARS-CoV-2 infection and 73% against COVID-19 disease in the trial group.

However, VE was estimated to be 86 percent against any SARS-CoV-2 infection and 93 percent against COVID-19 disease in HWCs who got two doses of the vaccine. VE against SARS-CoV-2 hospitalization rates for the recipients of both one and two doses was comparably high at >95%.

The researchers found that a single dose of an mRNA vaccine conferred significant protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection that lasted at least 16 weeks after immunisation.

This is probably the paper’s most significant addition, since prior research has failed to show vaccination efficacy beyond 8 weeks.

These results support the conclusion that the gap between the first and second doses of the vaccine may be extended by up to four months in the case of a vaccine supply shortage.

When the present research was performed, the main circulating strain of SARS-CoV-2 in Quebec was the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variety.

As a result, the authors claim that a single dosage of the vaccine was effective against the Alpha strain in 60% of HCWs.

This result is similar with previous research performed in another Canadian province, British Columbia, which demonstrated a 67 percent VE efficacy against COVID-19 Alpha infection in individuals over the age of 70 after a single dosage.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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