News

Pregnancy and Immunization

If you are pregnant, make sure you tell your healthcare professionals before you are immunized against anything. In general, pregnant women may be immunized with vaccines made from bacterial or viral noninfectious fragments, such as proteins, polysaccharides, or toxins.

They may also receive vaccines made from inactive whole bacteria or viruses. However, some experts recommend against the use of immunizing agents during the first trimester to avoid febrile reactions. "Live" vaccines (such as for measles and chickenpox) are contraindicated due to the theoretical risk of transmitting the infection to the fetus. Reassuringly, as of yet, no vaccine (live, inactive or other) has been associated with congenital anomalies.

 

The following table presents a summary of major infections, and specific recommendations regarding the application of their vaccines during pregnancy:

 

 

INFECTION

RECOMMENDATION

 

Chicken pox

***Vaccine contraindicated***
Cholera

 

Undetermined safety; should accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.

Hepatitis-A

 

Immunoglobulins considered safe; can accept if indicated. Vaccine undetermined safety; accept only in high-risk situation.

Hepatitus-B

 

Can accept both immunoglobulins and vaccine if indicated.

 

Influenza

Can accept vaccine if indicated.

Japanese Encephalitis

 

Undetermined safety; accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.

 

Lyme Disease

***Vaccine Contraindicated***

 

Meningococcus

 

  Undetermined safety; should accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.

Plague

 

Undetermined safety; should accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.

 

Pneumococcus

 

Can accept if indicated.

Polio

 

Can accept (killed virus) vaccine if indicated but preferably only after the first trimester.

Rabies

 

Can accept both immunoglobulins and vaccine if indicated.

Tetanus

 

Can accept immunoglobulins against tetanus if indicated; if dose required routinely, only accept after first trimester.

Tuberculosis

 

Should accept BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccine only in high-risk situations.

Typhoid

 

Undetermined safety; accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.

Yellow fever

 

Undetermined safety; should accept vaccine only in high-risk situations and preferably only after the first trimester.

   

 

 

 

 

 

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn

Spring is here!  Your nose is running like a tap and your nostrils are completely congested. Is it seasonal allergies or are you experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? Because the outbreak overlaps with allergy season, it might be hard to know what the symptoms indicate. Read on to find out how to tell them apart.


Seasonal Allergies or Covid-19?

It’s easy to confuse the symptoms of seasonal allergies and those of COVID-19 as they share some similarities. A good tip to determine if whether or not your symptoms may be COVID-19 related is to compare your current symptoms with the symptoms you usually have during allergy seasons. If you notice a difference between the way you usually feel during allergy season and your current situation, this might be a hint that something else is at play.

 

What Causes Seasonal Allergies and COVID-19?

For seasonal allergies, the symptoms are the result of an overreaction by the body to miniscule substances (called “allergens”) found in the air we breathe, e.g., ragweed pollen.

 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.

 

COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact.

 

Careful With Your Hands

Because allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, it might tempting to relieve the itchiness by touching your face and said eyes. However, such a habit can increase your risk of contracting COVID-19 if you have touched an infected surface or object beforehand. 

 

Make sure to comply to strict hygiene measures such as handwashing for 20 seconds to minimize your risk. Medication can also relieve your allergy symptoms.

 

Seasonal VS Perennial Allergies

Seasonal: When the allergen that causes allergic rhinitis is only present at a specific time of the year, the symptoms will appear at the same time every year. For example, in the spring for people who are allergic to tree pollen or in the fall for those with a ragweed allergy. 

 

Perennial: When the allergen is present year-round in the environment, symptoms can occur all year long. Dust mites are one example of an allergen that can cause allergic rhinitis throughout the year.
 

When in Doubt Ask Your Pharmacist

If you’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms, call your pharmacist. They can help determine whether you’re suffering from allergies or will indicate the next steps for you to follow if your symptoms are unusual. They may also suggest certain medications or other measures to relieve your allergy symptoms.

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn

Since the COVID-19 vaccine was announced, there has been a lot of information circulating about whether it is safe, effective and much more. Unfortunately, a lot of that information tends to be either false or wrongly reported by media outlets.

 

Here are some myths about the COVID-19 vaccination that can help you better understand not only the vaccine, but the virus in general.

 

Does Vaccination Lower My Immune System?

NO.

In fact, vaccination does the exact opposite! Vaccination triggers your immune system to produce specific antibodies and white blood cells that act as a defense against the virus in question.

 

Can The Covid-19 Vaccination Treat Covid-19?

NO.

The vaccine does not treat COVID-19, it helps prevent the infection. That is why we do not vaccinate people with active symptoms.

 

Can the Covid-19 Vaccine Give you Covid-19?

NO.

The COVID-19 vaccine cannot and will not give you COVID-19.

The two current authorized mRNA vaccines in Canada instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus if it is exposed to it. The vaccine does not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus, and therefore, does not cause infection of any sort.

 

Should I Get the Covid-19 Vaccine Even If I Already Had Covid-19?

YES.

People who have had COVID-19 can still benefit from getting vaccinated due to the severe health risks associated with the virus and the fact that re-infection is possible. There is currently insufficient information available to say if or how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it.

 

Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long and that the vaccine offers better protection than natural immunity.

 

Are There Side Effect To The Covid-19 Vaccine & Are They Dangerous?

YES, there are mild side effects and NO, they are not serious. 

The COVID-19 vaccine can have side effects similar to vaccines that are currently on the market, however, the vast majority are mild, very short term and non serious. The most common side effects include:

  • Pain, soreness or redness at injection site
  • Fever or chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Body aches or joint pains
  • Nausea or vomiting (Moderna)
  • Diarrhea (Pfizer/BioNTech)

These are signs that the vaccine is working to stimulate your immune system. These symptoms should not last more than 1-2 days. If symptoms persist beyond 2 days or worsen over time, you should call your healthcare professional.

 

What to do right after receiving the vaccine:

  • Wait for at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to be sure that you are feeling well and do not experience any immediate reaction.
  • Inform the healthcare provider if you feel unwell while waiting. While waiting, continue to follow health and safety norms by wearing a mask and keeping a distance of at least 2 meters from anybody not belonging to your household.
  • Use alcohol-based sanitization to clean your hands before leaving the immunization center.
  • Do not operate a vehicle or other form of transportation for at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine or if feeling unwell.

Can The Covid-19 Vaccine Cause More Serious Allergic Reactions Than The Existing Vaccines?

NO.

There is no link between antibiotic or food allergies and a potential reaction to the vaccine. In fact, the only contraindication for the currently available vaccines is a known allergic reaction to one of the components found in the vaccine, most notably, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG). 

 

If you have allergies, especially severe ones that require you to carry an EpiPen, discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your pharmacist, who can assess your risk and provide more information about if and how you can get vaccinated safely.

 

Can I Trust The Covid-19 Vaccine Even Though It Was ‘‘RUSHED’’?

YES. 

There are many reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines could be developed so quickly, but in no way was it rushed.

 

Here are just a few:

  • The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were created with a method that has been in development for years, so the companies could start the vaccine development process early in the pandemic.
  • The different scientific communities isolated and shared genetic information about COVID-19 promptly, so scientists could start working on vaccines.
  • The vaccine developers didn’t skip any testing steps, but conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule to gather data faster.
  • Vaccine projects had plenty of resources, as governments invested in research and/or paid for vaccines in advance.
  • Companies began making vaccines early in the process, even before FDA authorization, so some supplies were ready when authorization occurred.

Can The MRNA Technology Used To Make The Covid-19 Vaccine Enter My Cells &

Change My DNA?

NO.

The mRNA technology behind the COVID-19 vaccine has been in development for nearly two decades. This technology was created specifically to help respond quickly to a new pandemic illness (for example, COVID-19).

 

The vaccine does enter your cell, but it does not enter the nucleus where the DNA resides. The mRNA causes the cell to make a specific protein that is found on the COVID-19 virus, which helps stimulate the immune system to develop antibodies that will defend against the virus if your body comes into contact with it.

Once the mRNA is used to make the protein, it quickly breaks down, without affecting your DNA.

 

Can I Stop Wearing A Mask & Taking Safety Precautions After Getting Vaccinated?

NO.

Those who get the COVID-19 vaccine are still strongly recommended to practice social distancing and continue wearing masks until further notice.  The vaccine does not stop the virus from entering your body, it prevents you from developing moderate to severe symptoms. It is not yet clear whether those vaccinated can still carry and transmit the virus to others, even when they themselves don’t get sick.

Therefore, in order to protect those around you, it is important to continue following government’s recommended safety measures.

 

Should I Get Vaccinated Even If I Am Immunocompromised, Pregnant Or A Teenager?

YES.

Immunocopromised people

Those who are immunocompromised due to an auto-immune disease should be informed that it is generally recommended to get vaccinated considering the actual health risks associated with COVID-19 and the expected benefits of the vaccine.

 

There is no reason to suggest that the vaccines will cause any safety problems

Furthermore, those who take immunosuppression medication have a lower immune system, which makes them more at risk of COVID-19, further reinforcing the importance for this population to get vaccinated.

 

Although the current data is limited in this population, they are strongly encouraged to discuss the vaccine with their healthcare professional in order to make an informed decision and follow current recommendations on the subject. 

 

Pregnant women & Teenagers

For pregnant women and teenagers, the same logic applies. Although the current data is limited within these populations, it is generally recommended to get vaccinated considering the actual health risks associated with COVID-19 and the expected benefits of the vaccine.

 

It is strongly encouraged to talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccine would most benefit you most, beforehand if you are pregnant or are between 12 to 15 years old. 

 

Contact your pharmacist to make an informed decision and follow current recommendations on the subject. 

 

Is It True That The Covid-19 Vaccination Is Not Effective?

NO.

The current vaccines available in Canada (Pfizer-BioNTech & Moderna) require 2 doses in order to acquire its full protection.

 

The second dose helps prolong your protection against COVID-19, however the total duration is currently unknown. Follow your government recommendations regarding the interval between doses.

 

Studies have shown that the current vaccines are around 95% effective after receiving your second dose. No vaccine guarantees 100% absence of risk of infection.

 

To note:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine – return in 21 days for your second dose.
  • Moderna COVID vaccine – return in 28 days for your second dose.

DO NOT receive any other vaccines until you have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine AND until 28 days after the second dose. 

As a precaution, avoid getting pregnant in the 28 days following the second and last dose of the vaccine.

 

How Long Does it Take For Me To Be Protected After Receiving The Covid-19 Vaccine?

It is important to note that your protection develops within days, and not hours, after receiving your vaccine; therefore you are only considered protected 2 weeks after having received your second dose (for the current vaccines).

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn