Coronavirus and vaccines: frequently asked questions

The following frequently asked questions are based on documents from the World Health Organization – WHO, the Pan American Health Organization – PAHO, and the national health authorities. The information will be updated as more verified data becomes available.

What is a vaccine and what are its benefits?

Vaccines are preparations that are used to generate immunity against different diseases and protect ourselves in case of coming into contact with them. Vaccines activate the body’s natural defenses so that they learn to resist specific infections and strengthen the immune system. They generate antibodies that protect the human body against microorganisms -viruses or bacteria-, which prevents diseases or generates mild manifestations and, in addition, cuts the chain of transmission between people.

The vaccine against COVID-19 is free, free and voluntary and is available both for those who have already had the disease and have recovered and for those who have never been infected.


COVID-19 vaccination

These recommendations are subject to update as more information becomes available.

Updated May 13, 2021


About vaccines against Covid 19

Are vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) before reaching countries?

There are several ways to authorize the use of vaccines in the emergency context caused by the pandemic. Worldwide, agencies such as the FDA and EMEA, among others, are responsible for the approval of vaccines. Some countries do not require local authorization if the vaccine was previously approved by another regulatory agency. In Argentina this is not the case and the ANMAT must be issued. It should be clear that no dose is going to be applied that is not safe and duly approved by international and national organizations.

Will vaccination make the virus disappear?

No. Viral circulation and the occurrence of mild disease may persist, as well as the possibility of transmission to people at risk. That is why it is essential to continue with protection measures.

What vaccines are currently authorized in Argentina?

In Argentina, the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use to date are:

– Pfizer vaccine: by provision of ANMAT N ° 9210/20 of December 22, 2020.

– Sputnik V vaccine by Ministerial Resolution No. 2784/20 of December 24, 2020.

– AstraZeneca ChAdOx1-S vaccine by provision of ANMAT N ° 9271/20 of December 30, 2020.

– Covishield ChAdOx1-S vaccine by Ministerial Resolution 627/21 of February 9, 2021.

– Sinopharm vaccine by Ministerial Resolution 688/21 of February 22, 2021.

How many doses should be applied?

The three available vaccines have two doses. Sputnik V has two distinct components; while Covishield / ChadOx-1 and Sinopharm® use the same product.

What interval should there be between doses?

In the context of limited availability of vaccines, the Ministry of Health of the Nation recommends a minimum interval of 12 weeks (3 months) between the first and second doses for all groups of the target population.

Can schedules be completed with different vaccines?

There is no data on the interchangeability between the different vaccines against COVID 19, therefore, to date, it is recommended to complete the schedule with the same vaccine that was started.

ChAdOx1-S vaccines (such as AstraZeneca and Covishield®) correspond to the same vaccine produced by technology transfer from different manufacturing laboratories. Therefore, in this situation, it would not be a question of “interchangeability of products” but of producers, which allows them to be combined in their use.

Will the vaccine be able to be bought at the pharmacy?

Not.

Will you be able to choose between vaccines?

No. The target population will be vaccinated according to the vaccine that enters and is provided by the Ministry of Health of the Nation. In case of having the vaccine with two doses, both doses must be of the same vaccine, they cannot be alternated.


About the target population

What is the target population to be vaccinated?

Nation and Provinces defined that the target population, as of today, will be made up of: health personnel, essential or strategic personnel (eg: security personnel, teaching and non-teaching staff), people over 60 years of age, and people 18 to 59 years with risk factors.

What are the criteria for prioritizing people to be vaccinated?

By risk by exposure and strategic function:

  • Health personnel (with escalation) to the Armed Forces, security and prison service personnel.
  • Teaching and non-teaching staff (initial, primary and secondary level).
  • Other strategic populations defined by jurisdictions and dose availability.

For risk of serious illness:

  • Adults 70 years and over.
  • Older people residing in long-stay homes.
  • Adults 60 to 69 years old.
  • Adults from 18 to 59 years old belonging to groups at risk.

What diagnoses are considered risk factors for ages 18 to 59?

  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes (insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent).
  • Obesity grade 2 (body mass index -BMI- greater than 35) and grade 3 (BMI greater than 40).
  • Cardiovascular disease: heart failure, coronary disease, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension.
  • Chronic kidney disease (including patients on chronic dialysis).
  • Chronic respiratory disease: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, severe asthma.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • People living with HIV regardless of CD4 count and viral load levels.
  • Solid organ transplant and solid organ transplant waiting list patients.
  • People with disabilities who are residents of homes, residences and small homes.
  • Oncological and oncohematological patients with recent diagnosis or “ACTIVE” disease (less than 1 year from diagnosis; current treatment or having received immunosuppressive treatment in the last 12 months; relapsed or uncontrolled disease).
  • In patients who require or undergo chemotherapy, it is recommended to receive the complete vaccination schedule (2 doses) at least 14 days prior to the start of treatment. If this is not possible, it is suggested to delay vaccination until such time as there is stable spinal recovery or they are in the consolidation phase (as appropriate).
  • People with active TB (new or relapsed case, diagnosed in the last 12 months).
  • People with intellectual and developmental disabilities that disable the individual capacities to execute, understand or sustain personal care measures over time to avoid the contagion or transmission of COVID-19; and / or are institutionalized, in homes or long-term residences; and / or require professional home care or home hospitalization.
  • Down syndrome, initially prioritizing those over 40 years of age, in whom a substantial increase in mortality from COVID-19 has been evidenced compared to other age groups.

Who should not get the vaccine?

Vaccines have general contraindications for people with:

  • Hypersensitivity to any component of a vaccine or to a vaccine that contains similar components.
  • Age less than 18 years (due to the lack of data on efficacy and safety in this age group).
  • Temporary contraindication: serious acute diseases (infectious and non-infectious) or exacerbation of chronic diseases, which imply compromise of the general state (eg severe uncontrolled asthma).
  • Absolute contraindication to receiving a second dose: anaphylaxis and immediate severe allergic reactions to the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Will people under 18 years of age, with risk factors, be vaccinated?

No, because the vaccine is not approved for children under 18 years of age.

After the target population is vaccinated, will the rest of the population be vaccinated?

Not at this stage of the campaign. Predicted doses are only for the target population, defined in advance.

If I am within the target population, do I have to pay to get the vaccine?

No. The vaccine is voluntary, free and freely accessible to the previously defined target population.

Is it mandatory for me to get vaccinated?

No. Vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory. Likewise, from the Ministry of Health of the Nation and the Expanded Program of Immunizations advocate to build and promote acceptance and confidence in vaccination as a solidarity, equitable and beneficial public health strategy for the well-being and health of people and of the population, based on conclusive scientific evidence and that has saved millions of lives in the world as a primary preventive measure.

Why are only some groups vaccinated?

Group vaccination strategies are aimed at strengthening the defenses of the most vulnerable or prone to complications, on the one hand; and on the other, to those who, due to their work or function in society, are more exposed to contracting the disease.


About special situations

Are people with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID 19 vaccinated?

In the context of limited availability of vaccines, people who are part of the target population and have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 (as defined by the Ministry of Health), should postpone the application of the first dose of vaccine against COVID-19 by 3 and 6 months after clinical discharge.

While people with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 (as defined by the Ministry of Health) after the first dose of vaccine, they should postpone the application of the second dose between 3 and 6 months after clinical discharge.

Do people with a history of COVID 19 get vaccinated the same?

Vaccination against COVID-19 will be administered regardless of the history of having suffered the infection (symptomatic or asymptomatic) and / or the presence of specific antibodies. In the context of limited availability of vaccines, and given that the number of cases of documented reinfection is very low in the 6 months after diagnosis, the postponement of the application of the first dose of vaccine is recommended in those people recovered from COVID 19, postponing its administration between 3 and 6 months after clinical discharge.

Can people who received treatment with monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 or convalescent plasma be vaccinated?

There are currently no data on the safety or efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in people who have received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of treatment for COVID-19.

It is recommended that vaccination be postponed for at least 90 days after treatment.

Are viral tests recommended before the application of the vaccine?

The request for viral or serological tests for detection of acute or previous infection is not recommended, depending on the definition of vaccination.

Should close contacts be vaccinated?

It is recommended to postpone vaccination until the end of the isolation period, to avoid exposing health personnel during vaccination and other people.

Can pregnant women be vaccinated?

A medical evaluation is suggested to discuss risks and benefits of vaccination when the person belongs to the target population, defined previously.

During the lactation period, can they be vaccinated?

A medical evaluation is suggested to discuss risks and benefits of vaccination when the person belongs to the target population, defined previously.

Should people with autoimmune diseases get vaccinated?

There is not yet enough evidence to recommend the routine use of the vaccine in this population.


Other considerations

Is it possible that the COVID-19 vaccine has some side effects after its application?

The characteristic adverse events (AE) identified in Clinical Studies, as well as in studies of other vaccines, are mainly mild or moderate and can develop within the first or second day after vaccination, resolving within 3 days.

In case of presenting side effects, symptomatic treatment may be indicated if necessary: ​​antihistamines and / or antipyretics. The use of these drugs in clinical studies has not shown drug interactions.

Will COVID-19 vaccines provide long-term protection?

The total time of immunity granted by each of the vaccines cannot yet be specified.

After getting the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask and have social contacts?

No. No vaccine is 100% effective, the disease can occur, and if it does occur it is usually attenuated. It is important that everyone continues with prevention measures: use of face masks or chinstrap, maintain a physical distance of 2 meters, hand hygiene, alcohol gel or 70% alcohol, respiratory hygiene, cleaning and disinfection of normal contact surfaces, ventilation of the environments.

Can I be close contact even if I have been vaccinated?

Vaccinated people who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID19 must comply with isolation (until more evidence is available regarding the efficacy of vaccines against COVID-19 in preventing asymptomatic infection and transmissibility).

What are the care that the entire population should have?

It is recommended that the entire community, whether or not they have received the vaccine, continue with prevention measures. It is also advisable to avoid crowds, closed spaces and use public transport in a rational way.

What interval must be respected for the application of other vaccines?

The co-administration of any of the COVID 19 vaccines with other vaccines on the National Calendar has not been evaluated. For this reason, until more information is available in this regard and considering international recommendations, it is recommended to respect an interval of 14 days with the application of other vaccines.

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