Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is recommended under emergency in persons aged 16 and older as it can reduce the risk of COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know.
UNDERSTANDING COVID-19 VACCINES
COVID-19 comes from a strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. This coronavirus type has not been seen in humans before and spreads through more than 15 minutes of direct contact with other people who have it.
After exposure to the virus, flu-like symptoms start to appear from 2 to 14 days. These include loss of taste or smell, sore throat, fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, fatigue, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. The virus primarily causes respiratory problems such as pneumonia, but can also affect other organs.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine under EUA
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine on 14 January 2021. This means that the vaccine did not undergo the same review process as FDA-approved medicines, which normally takes years depending on clinical trials. As studies continue, more data have since suggested their safety, efficacy, and long-term safety.
Only vaccines receiving positive recommendations from the HTAC will be allowed for use in the national COVID-19 immunization program.
THINGS TO KNOW
Who should get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
Only persons aged 16 or older may receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Who should NOT get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
Do not get the vaccine if you:
- Had a severe allergic reaction after receiving the first dose of this vaccine
- Had a severe allergic reaction to any of its ingredients (such as polyethylene glycol [PEG])
- Are below 16 years of age
Can I receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine if I have other medical conditions?
If you are immunocompromised, have another acute illness or autoimmune condition, or if you are a person living with HIV, consult your healthcare provider for proper advice.
Can I receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your healthcare provider for proper advice.
Will the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine give me COVID-19?
No. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine does not contain the live virus and cannot give you COVID-19.
I recently recovered from COVID-19. Do I still need to get Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
Yes. The Department of Health (DOH) recommends vaccination even after recovering from COVID-19.
RECEIVING THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE
Do I need to get tested before receiving Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
No. You only need to wear your face mask, face shield, and stay 1 at least meter away from others when you get vaccinated.
What should I tell my provider before getting the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
Before getting vaccinated, remember to tell your vaccination provider all your medical conditions, such as if you:
- Have any allergies
- Are immunocompromised or use medicines affecting your immune system
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Have a fever
- Have bleeding disorders or use blood thinners
- Have received a different COVID-19 vaccine
Providers will only schedule recipients for vaccination after complete health screening.
How will I get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
Your vaccine provider will give you the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as an injection into your muscle. You will receive 2 doses of the vaccine based on the schedule your provider set for you. Make sure to receive only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine within this time to complete the vaccination series.
What are the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
Data has shown that 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine can prevent COVID-19 for persons aged 16 and older. Researchers continue to study its long-term protection as more people receive vaccines worldwide.
What are the risks of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
Some side effects reported from the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination include:
- Pain, swelling, or redness in injection site
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Pain in joints
- General discomfort or malaise
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Allergic reactions
More trials continue to study potential serious or unexpected effects from the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
What should I do in case of severe reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in rare cases may cause severe allergic reactions from a few minutes to an hour after getting a dose of the injection. In such an event, your provider may ask you to stay at the vaccination site for monitoring and treatment. Signs of severe allergic reaction include:
- Breathing difficulty
- Swelling of face and/or throat
- Fast heartbeat
- Rash all over the body
- Weakness or dizziness
Call your provider if any discomfort, side effects or unusual symptoms persist 24 hours after getting Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. You can also report your symptoms through the following links:
- FDA Online Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting – https://www.fda.gov.ph/adr-reporting/
- WHO Online Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting for the Philippines – https://primaryreporting.who-umc.org/Reporting/Reporter?OrganizationID=PH
Can I receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine with other vaccines?
If you have received any other injections recently, inform your provider and wait two weeks before getting Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
There is no data on using the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine concurrently with other COVID and non-COVID vaccines.
How will I know the schedule for my next vaccine dose?
After getting the first dose, your provider will give you a vaccination card that shows when you should return for your second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine dose.
Can I choose the brand of vaccine I will receive?
No. The National Government will vaccinate based on prioritization and vaccine delivery schedules. Priority groups will receive FDA-approved vaccines delivered first.
What if I do not want to get vaccinated?
Vaccination is not mandatory. It is your choice to receive or not receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
Your standard medical care will not change if you decide not to get vaccinated.
How can I learn more?
- Ask your vaccination provider.
- Visit DOH at https://doh.gov.ph/.
- Visit FDA at https://www.fda.gov.ph/.
- Visit WHO at https://www.who.int/.
- Contact your Local Health Office.
Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers. US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download.
Read our guidance for the general public: https://hta.doh.gov.ph/2021/02/09/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-under-emergency-use-authorization-eua/
Read our guidance for health care providers: https://hta.doh.gov.ph/2021/02/09/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine/
Read the evidence summary: http://bit.ly/ESbiontechC19Pfizer