Opinion: The coronavirus vaccine is safe, even for those immunocompromised


Lisa Ferdinando via Wikimedia Commons

The coronavirus vaccines are available and safe, even for immunocompromised people.

We’ve all seen it — that end-of-the-world movie. A virus spreading like wildfire, actual killer wildfires, and top that all off: killer hornets.

Oh wait, that’s not a movie, just 2020 in a nutshell.

The mass vaccine developed in only a few months seems to be a health miracle at a time like this. Anyone with access to the COVID vaccine should absolutely get it, even those who are immunocompromised.

Some Americans are unsure of the safety of this vaccine (especially those who have compromised immune systems), because it was developed in such a short period of time.

But as Peter Gulick, M.D., who is a professor of medicine at Michigan State University, said to Verywell Health, the threat of sickness from a vaccine is dependent on the type of vaccine — activated or inactivated. 

According to Dr. Gulick, activated vaccines use live versions of the germ, but in a weakened form. This type of vaccination, like that for smallpox, can be harmful to the immunocompromised.  But that doesn’t apply to the coronavirus vaccines. 

Currently, there are two coronavirus vaccines available: the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Both are inactivated vaccines, meaning the killed version of the germ is used in the vaccine. Inactivated vaccines are usually administered in multiple doses because they’re weaker than activated vaccines. 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations “work by teaching our cells to make a protein that triggers our body’s immune response, leading to the production of antibodies. These antibodies then work to keep us healthy and protect us from getting COVID-19,” according to Gulick.

Lisa Maragakis M.D., M.P.H., along with Gabor Kelen, M.D. of John Hopkins Medical Center, verify that the vaccine is in fact safe. It has gone through rigorous tests, is FDA approved, and patients given the vaccine have been monitored for any side effects, and so far, none have appeared.

Overall, the safety of the vaccine should not be a concern for those looking into getting the Pfizer or Moderna, as they are inactivated and even recommended for those with compromised immune systems.