Most people with Omicron didn't even realise they had COVID-19, study finds


Mama's lil stinker
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So, I just got the latest booster yesterday at around 4:00pm, the new bivalent vaccine, targeting both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and the BA.4/5 omicron sub-variants, which share the same spike protein and are currently the dominant variants circulating. Since the initial release, I've been exclusively using Moderna. While there are no current studies comparing the latest vaccines, the previous booster seemed to be more favorable with Moderna than Pfizer, which is why I stuck with Moderna and recommended to my family members to switch.

My mother actually took part in the initial Pfizer clinical trials, having traveled an entire state away, and was fortunate enough to be in the 50% that received the real vaccine. Hence, she has received all of the vaccines recommended for folks her age. One of our local pharmacies got the new booster just yesterday, so I took her to get the vaccine with me. She's had so many jabs, that they had to staple her vaccine cards together; at some point it's going to be as big as a phone book. Many of my family members have a needle phobia, so it's good to have me walk them through it.

As of this writing, it's been approximately 19 hours since I got the injection. I'm too young to qualify for the second booster (fourth jab), so it's been a substantial amount of time since I received the first booster. Considering that this dosage targets both the original SARS-CoV-2 and BA.4/5, I think it has more side-effects, at least for myself and my mother, than previous boosters. I had the worst reaction to the second initial dosage, with mild symptoms with the first booster, and I'd say that this was the most unpleasant since the original second dose.

Approximately six hours after receiving the Moderna booster, I began having symptoms. Primarily, a low-grade fever, aching joints, moderate pain at the injection site, and a headache. Also, strangely enough, I had muscle pain in the arm that didn't receive the jab. I don't know if this is sympathy pain, or more likely, a result of general pain from expected symptoms.

The most unpleasant side effect was the inability to sleep. Typically, when one gets a mild fever, it produces chills and a desire to sleep it off. I felt like I was overheated, and had terrible insomnia. So, I felt too bad to do anything except lay in bed, but my mind wouldn't let me fall asleep. I got maybe three hours last night, while waking up every ten or twenty minutes. I didn't have insomnia with my previous three injections, so I see this as a sign that this new booster is indeed different from the previous ones that I have received.

At this point, almost all symptoms have abated, and I am doing much better, so expect this to last at least half a day, once symptoms start becoming noticeable. I had a few errands to do this morning, so that was unpleasant, and should have budgeted my time better to take it easy. I had assumed that the side effects would be similar to the first booster, but this was more impactful. Of course, the results will be different for everyone, my mother is currently fast asleep, so it could take her more time to recover. I'm also going to make sure other family members get the vaccine as soon as possible, despite their needle phobias.

It takes approximately two weeks for the vaccine to reach maximal efficacy. Thus, I recommend everyone get their injection as soon as possible. Just make sure you don't have a lot to do the following day. As I said, I'm doing much better now, but would have preferred to stay at home, in bed, the following day after receiving this booster.

Finally, I know it sounds weird, but I'm sure many of us feel a sense of accomplishment after the injection. Even though it's a mild inconvenience, staying current with the latest boosters is the best way to avoid either being infected, or substantial severity of an infection. It is also the right thing to do for our families, friends, and human kind in general. This is a good reminder to get your influenza vaccine, as well. There are no restrictions with taking them together, just make sure to switch arms. Last year's flu vaccine was a miss with little to no protection, because COVID dominated global sickness, but hopefully the predictive methods used will improve its efficacy this year.

So, the short version is to get the COVID booster for the new variants as soon as it is available in your area, call around if you have to like I did, and do your civic duty to protect both yourself and everyone around you. I survived the latest injection, and I recommend getting it as soon as possible.
Wanted to share my current experience as well, also wanted to say thanks for pointing out how many hours it's been at the time of writing this which gives a true perspective without us having to figure it out from post dates.

It's been about 29 hours for me now, I got it at around noon yesterday. Shot stung a little going in this time but subsided shortly after with no pain, then about 3 hours later I started to feel my arm getting sore which is typical for me. Made it through most of the evening okay but did have a rough time getting sleep, not sure why because I seemed okay otherwise but was restless.

Woke up feeling a bit under the weather this morning, also had an upset stomach and that's been the case most of the day (not a side effect I've ever had with this vaccine to date), there are also no dietary changes worthy of note. Have been having a few hot flashes and feel rundown but no actual fever or chills, yet anyway. I've also had several bouts of nausea but that has abated as well. So far this is one of the milder reactions I've had, a couple of past ones really laid me out.

Also worth noting that this is my 5th Pfizer dose overall, I even had to get a new card lol. Hopefully I'm past the worst of it but if anything changes I'll follow up, if I'm still feeling achy tonight I may take some Tylenol but so far I haven't needed anything for it.

YMMV, good luck everyone!


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What type of testing happens with the annual flu shot? I am guessing it doesn't go through all the layers. Or is it even tested at all?

There is a lot that could potentially be written here but I’ll try to keep it as straightforward as possible.

It is tested quite similarly in terms of other vaccines with human clinical trials to address safety and dosing. Due to the nature of the flu virus however, testing how well it works is a little different than other vaccines. Scientists attempt to predict what mutations will occur by the time the flu spreads around the world for the next season. In premarket trials it is tested for efficacy rather than effectiveness (Efficacy refers to theoretically how well it’ll work, effectiveness refers to how well it works in the real world). A “surrogate marker” is used to determine this efficacy- in this case does the vaccine create antibodies that target the viral strains of interest. This isn’t that uncommon in pharmaceutical trials. After the vaccine is on the market follow up trials are done to determine it’s effectiveness by seeing how well it prevents flu cases or reduces symptoms, hospitalizations, etc as well as monitoring for any side effects not detected in the safety trials.

Obviously if we waited until flu season to hit to test its effectiveness, by the time the trials were completed flu season would be over. And because influenza mutates so quickly, the correct strains are not always chosen. So it’s not a perfect way of doing things, but it’s the best we’ve got. Thought not unheard of, intentionally exposing vaccine trial participants to the virus (“challenge studies”) is generally considered unethical, especially if you have a placebo group.

There are mRNA flu vaccines in trials which would greatly speed up the development process. The most relevant technology currently used is recombinant DNA technology where basically we genetically modify E.Coli to create the vaccine organically- but it’s a complicated process and is prone to problems.

Perhaps even better we also have “universal flu” vaccines in trials, which would mean not having to alter the vaccine ever year and possibly greater dosing intervals than every year.
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