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What you need to know before getting vaccinated against coronavirus

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What to prepare for those who decided to inject?

The country has started vaccination against COVID-19 for medical workers who are at risk. Following them, teachers, transport workers, trade and media workers will receive their dose of the Russian "Sputnik V". To be vaccinated or not is a personal matter for everyone. However, doctors and scientists around the world are unanimous on this issue: there is only one alternative to vaccination, and by no means the most unpleasant - to get sick, says SB.

When the antibody comes into the body

The distrust of coronavirus vaccinations is understandable. First, the infection itself is not fully understood. Secondly, vaccines against it were created in record time. Third, the results of clinical trials of many drugs are still in progress.

Sputnik V, for example, on which great hopes are pinned in many countries. A number of participants in the trials of this vaccine will learn about the presence of antibodies to coronavirus in their bodies no earlier than April, when the experiment is officially completed. While they are forced to live in ignorance - they injected them with a real drug or were unlucky and got a placebo (ordinary saline solution, which has no effect on the body). These people, like everyone else, are obliged to take precautions: wear masks, stay at a distance from others, avoid crowds, etc. When the first symptoms of the disease appear, take tests, and in case of contact with patients, go into self-isolation. It seems protected, but it seems not. Frankly speaking, the situation is unenviable.

I joined the Minsk group of test volunteers in October. In November, she received a second injection, and in December she donated blood for the presence of antibodies to coronavirus in the body. Since then was silence. The results of the analysis are a secret both for me and for the doctors of the 28th Moscow polyclinic, where I was vaccinated. This is the order of research.

-Is there really not a single chance to find out the presence of the cherished antibodies in the blood before April?" - many will rightly ask. Indeed, today there are hundreds of places throughout the country where anyone can take a PCR test or tests for the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies to COVID-19. However, not all tests are the same.

The fact is that the envelope of the SARS-CoV-2 virus includes different types of proteins (S, E, M and N). S-protein (spike protein) gives the viral particle a corona-like appearance (the very spikes on a covid ball). One of its main properties is to help the virus enter the cell.

After infection occurs, the body begins to produce antibodies, or immunoglobulins. The most active immune response in coronavirus can be caused by nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S) proteins. Therefore, they try to detect antibodies to them most often.

Today in Belarus, not a single private laboratory, not a single polyclinic has, alas, a spike protein antibody test in the list of services. Only to the nucleocapsid. And in the process of creating the Sputnik V vaccine, it is the gene encoding the S-protein of the coronavirus spike that is used. When inserted into vectors, it is safe for the body, but causes the immune system to react and produce antibodies that protect against infection.

In fact, only S-protein tests are able to give an accurate answer to the presence of antibodies in the body after vaccination. But since it had just begun in our country, there was no demand for such a service. And in Russia, where a large number of people have received the vaccine, many laboratories do such analyzes. There is a chance that soon this will appear with us.

If it is necessary, make injection

 Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor of the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Belarusian State Medical University Sergei Zhavoronok in December worked in the medical aviation with severe patients with coronavirus infection throughout the country. It is admitted: the picture is not for the faint of heart.

- The other day I entered my name on the vaccination lists. I advise everyone to do the same as soon as possible, declares Sergei Vladimirovich categorically. But it is not worth hoping for what will carry, or waiting for spring, with the onset of which the second wave of the pandemic will decline. Today we are convinced in practice: it is possible to get sick with COVID-19 for the second time. If a large infectious dose enters the body, then it is able to "break through" the immunity acquired after the first mild encounter with the disease. This is another good reason not to neglect vaccinations.

News about the temporary stabilization of the situation with the number of cases in the country is not an indicator that gives us the right to relax. Until we reach collective immunity, there can be no question of lifting the precautionary measures, says Sergey Zhavoronok.

- We will be able to talk about herd immunity only when at least 80% of the country's population has antibodies to coronavirus. A logical question: how many antibodies can appear after vaccination? This is a real lottery. In a small percentage of people, they may not appear at all, many will have average indicators, and someone will be lucky and the formed immunity against the disease will unexpectedly surprise with an excellent result, the doctor of sciences warns. - This applies not only to vaccinations against COVID-19. Let me give you an example from my own practice: in the early 1980s, I happened to be at the Institute of Virology. DI Ivanovsky in Moscow to be an accomplice in the work on a plasma vaccine against hepatitis B and, as usual, to test the vaccine on oneself together with its authors. So, after 40 years in my body, the antibody titer is 380 IU / ml (with an effective protective indicator of 10). The developed IgG antibodies persist for a long time and even pass through the placenta to the fetus - this allows you to transfer immunity from the mother to the child.

Recently in Bulgaria, by the way, a baby was born with immunity to COVID-19. A 28-year-old mother contracted an infection during pregnancy. This kind of news is positive. But we cannot ignore the fact that every day there are hundreds of conflicting reports regarding the effectiveness or side effects of a particular vaccine. In particular, stories of deaths after being vaccinated with some Western vaccines are scary. How should you treat them?

- Death is a natural process, and vaccination in no way can stop it in cases not associated with it. For some reason, many people forget about this and try to make vaccination the cause of all troubles. And even if a person was hit by a tram, at least he died from a very likely heart attack with his chronic diseases, but if he was vaccinated before, the journalists will certainly pay attention to the fact that there was a vaccination and try to bring it to the surface, - rightly notesSergei Zhavoronok. ...

The panic arising from the biased presentation of information about the treatment of coronavirus and vaccination, the doctor of sciences knows firsthand:

- Every day I receive from friends and colleagues links to materials in the media with very dubious content, but with loud headlines regarding COVID-19. Unfortunately, in pursuit of a sensation, journalists are not always able to soberly assess the situation and often describe events or phenomena without delving into the essence. The consequences of such an attitude to information can be ruined lives. Alas.

According to Sergei Zhavoronok, the biggest danger is the asymptomatic carriers of the virus who are next to us every day in public transport, shops or at work. Most of them are children and young people who transmit the dangerous virus to adults and elderly loved ones without even knowing it. In this case, you can protect yourself only by receiving a vaccine or having been ill.

Minus gives plus

On Tuesday, mass vaccination of doctors began simultaneously in all regions of the country. 20 thousand doses of the Russian drug "Sputnik V" entered the country at the end of 2020 and underwent strict quality control. We cannot hesitate - in the coming months from the neighboring country we will receive about 150 thousand more doses of vaccine.

In addition, Belarusian pharmacists promise that the production of Sputnik V will begin by the end of February - early March on the basis of RUE Belmedpreparaty. It is planned that the volume of vaccines received in the country will amount to hundreds of thousands per month.

Localization will speed up the vaccination process not only due to the production itself, but also to reduce delivery costs. As you know, the coronavirus vaccine is whimsical in storage. For example, the American Pfizer-BioNTech should only be kept at -70 ° C.

The Russian Sputnik V requires a cold temperature of -18 ° C. Its delivery takes place in special tight-fitting thermoboxes filled with ice packs. They reliably stop possible risks: physical damage, wetting, penetration of dust, dirt, and more. At the same time, about 300 thousand doses of vaccines are placed in one average truck in 30 such boxes.

It is important that the cold chain is maintained from the moment of production until it reaches the final consumer, and that the vaccine is not thawed for a minute. In case of repeated freezing, it loses its effectiveness. Some experts believe that for this reason, billions of the world's inhabitants are likely not to receive the coronavirus vaccine anytime soon.


Is there a risk of getting sick after vaccination?

You cannot get infected from Sputnik V. There is no live coronavirus in the vector vaccine, but only the elements of its structure, which are needed to form protection. However, the developers warn: the effectiveness of the drug is not 100, but 91.4%. This means that the risk of the disease, albeit small, is still there. During the tests of the vaccine from the center. Gamaleas in those who received it, but still fell ill, the disease was mild (without hospitalization and pneumonia).

Why is the vaccine given in two stages? 

Antibodies appear after the first injection, but the second increases their number and increases the duration of the produced immunity. 

What side effects can there be? 

Some Phase 3 participants reported mild fever, headaches, muscle aches, chills, weakness, and pain at the injection site. True, these symptoms manifested themselves in a relatively small number of people. 

Are there any contraindications?

Do not vaccinate those who have hypersensitivity to the components of the vaccine, a general tendency to severe allergic reactions, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women and persons under 18 years of age (there is no data on the safety of the vaccine for children). Vaccination should be used with caution in people with chronic liver and kidney diseases, diabetes, severe diseases of the hematopoietic system, epilepsy, serious disorders of the immune system, lung diseases, asthma, stroke and other diseases of the central nervous system, with diseases of the cardiovascular system. 

When are antibodies to infection produced? 

The first antibodies may appear in the third week after the introduction of the first component, but more accurate results can be found after 2-3 weeks after the second injection. 


Roman Golovchenko, Prime Minister: 

- I am satisfied that the Belarusian and Russian departments are closely cooperating. In the near future, we must reach the gradual localization of production in Belarus (the Russian vaccine against COVID-19. - Ed.). This will give us new competencies in the field of microbiology and pharmaceuticals. 


Belarusian scientists are also developing a vaccine against COVID-19. Employees of the Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences, the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, the Institutes of Genetics and Cytology, Physiology of the National Academy of Sciences. 

- Everyone performs their task. For example, the Institute of Genetics and Cytology will conduct full genomic sequencing of the virus, and the Institute of Physiology will conduct research on animals. We intend to complete the work on time, said Andrei Goncharov, director of the Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Serious research is underway on cellular immunity in patients with coronavirus infection. It has already been possible to identify several indicators that, with a very high probability, indicate that the patient will have a severe course of the disease. When such a person is admitted to the hospital, an immunogram can be performed and certain conclusions can be drawn that help initially determine the appropriate treatment and prevent dire consequences. 


Cases of coronavirus disease are also found in vaccinated people who have a fairly high level of antibodies in the blood. How it happened with the Muscovite Ignat. Three months after he was injected with the first component in clinical trials, the analyzes showed: IgG 198 IU / ml. Quite a high figure, which is not the case for all those who have been ill. But after a couple of days, Ignat suddenly lost his sense of smell, stopped feeling the taste of food. Frightened: is it really the coronavirus? However, the PCR test was negative. How can this be? Doctors who have it, shrug their shoulders and so far only speculate that the virus could enter the body against the background of a weakened general immunity, but still received a rebuff with antibodies, which means that serious consequences should not be expected. 

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