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Is it safe to get the COVID vaccine if you’re allergic to shellfish? How do variants form?

Answering questions about COVID-19, vaccines

DETROIT – Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge is working to answer viewer questions regarding the coronavirus and the COVID-19 vaccines.

Should we wait more than a month to get the second shot because of the side effects?

No. You should get the vaccine as close to 21 days after for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna.

How do variants form?

Every time a virus replicates there are potential errors in the genetic instructions that are passed onto the next generation of virus.

Researchers label a virus a variant when a number of these errors, or mutations, accumulate and change something important about the virus.

The U.K. or South African variants have a large number of mutations and most likely developed in a single individual who was infected for a long time. That allowed each mutation to add onto the ones that happened earlier in the infection.

READ: Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases

I’m allergic to shellfish. Is it safe for me to have the COVID vaccine?

Yes. There are no food allergies that make the vaccine unsafe.

Health officials keep stating that the ‘studies done to support the Emergency Use Authorization of the COVID vaccine’ resulted in this outcome or that. Would different studies have been done had this not been for Emergency Use Authorization and if so, how would they have differed?

The studies supporting the Emergency Use Authorizations are solid. But because of the nature of the pandemic and the urgency for a vaccine, long-term outcomes are not available. And time is really the biggest difference. Generally, drug approvals require both proof of safety and substantial evidence of efficacy. Traditionally, this is based on more than one well-controlled trial.

Pfizer and Moderna have both indicated that they do plan to seek full FDA approval, but that will require more time to collect that longer term data. Other vaccines may face even more challenges meeting those requirements. As more people become vaccinated, there will be far fewer willing to participate in trials for an unproven vaccine.

The winter weather is forcing a lot of vaccination sites to reschedule the shots that were supposed to be given on Tuesday. Should people be concerned if their second dose has been rescheduled?

Ideally, those second doses should be rescheduled for as soon as possible. The CDC has said doses given up to six weeks after the first dose are still considered valid.


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Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge


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