Tag Archives: vaccinations

Pfizer or AstraZeneca… Our way out of this pandemic? 

Pfizer or AstraZeneca… Our way out of this pandemic? 

by Olivia

The first vaccine in Orkney was given out on the 9th of December and Orkney has managed to speed along and give the first dose to over 34s who have wished to have the vaccine.  So which vaccine is better?

Dorothy Scott, who is retired, got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine back in February.

“To start with I was unsure about having the vaccine as I felt that the vaccine safety had been rushed through,” she said, “however, I decided to accept the vaccine because I hoped it would give me more freedom.”

“I got my vaccine done at the hospital and the process was very efficient. There were stewards guiding you around so you knew where to enter. I did have to queue for about 45 minutes but I felt that given the circumstances this was acceptable.”

“The vaccine did not hurt at all and I got no side effects whatsoever although the spot where the needle entered my arm was uncomfortable for a few days but that was all.”

“I definitely do feel safer now after getting the first vaccine and I am hopeful that life will slowly return to normal, providing the vaccines are effective against the new variants.”

Pamela Scott, her daughter, got her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week.

“I was slightly hesitant to start with about getting the vaccine however I felt that it was required for my role as a teacher. I wanted to get the AstraZeneca vaccine as I have allergies so I wouldn’t be able to get the Pfizer one. I felt a bit worried about getting the vaccine because every time I turned on the TV it was on the news.”

“My vaccine was given to me at The Pickaquoy Centre and everything was very quick and efficient, all the staff were excellent and it didn’t hurt at all. The day after, I felt like I had the flu. I was bone sore, had chills, a fever, awful headaches, poor appetite, felt nauseous and was absolutely exhausted. I was off work for a whole week.”

“Nine days later and the awful symptoms are just beginning to lift. At the moment I certainly don’t feel any safer and I’m not sure if I even want to have the second dose since I’ve been so ill with the first dose.”

The NHS information acknowledges that “some people may experience side effects after the vaccine” but they say that “these are usually mild and are much less serious than developing coronavirus or complications associated with coronavirus. Any side effects usually go away within a few days.”

Pamela continued, “I hope life will slowly get back to normal however I think Orkney should try to get back to normal first before the tourists come to the islands. All teenagers need to get back to school, see their friends and be able to socialise. I also want to be able to visit my granny who is 94. We’ve not seen each other for over a year!”

So clearly there is a difference between both vaccines, how each work and the different potential side effects. The AstraZeneca vaccine is now deemed safe after some countries initially stopped using it. The vaccine is 79% effective and should cause no serious side effects.

The AstraZeneca vaccine works by using a harmless adenovirus to deliver a protein into your cells. Then your cells make that protein, and your body activates an immune response to protect you from further infections. The AstraZeneca vaccine uses an adenovirus that normally causes the common cold in chimpanzees as it cannot replicate in the human body or make you ill.

The Pfizer vaccines works by introducing a molecule to cells around your body which is known as the messenger. The molecule teaches cells to make a protein from the virus that causes COVID-19. As the protein is made the body detects it and makes an immune response which creates antibodies so that it will protect you from COVID-19.

The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at room temp however the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at sub-zero temperatures. Both vaccines should be effective for up to four months.

So, one year on and with vaccines things seem to be going well, hopefully soon we’ll be able to get life back to normal, and see the people we haven’t seen at all in this last crazy year.


(Image from pixabay.com)