I have a very vivid memory of this one idle afternoon I sat scrolling through my Twitter, laughing at anti-vaxxers and the inevitable jokes accompanying the ‘movement’, a few continents over. Little did I know this reality would soon crawl its way into my home to bite me in the back. How’s that for a good laugh, huh?

As if the anxiety surrounding the virus and the second, third, fourth wave… (phew I’ve lost count) wasn’t enough, we have something new to worry about now: THE VACCINE!

Were you as na├»ve as me – thinking that as soon as a vaccine were to be developed – everything would miraculously go back to normal? Well, if so, you’re also equally confused as to which one to go for – not the kind of buffet we’d like, is it? So, today, I’ve decided to play saviour and save you some time (and peace of mind) by researching what makes a vaccine safe and effective? The ‘market’ has options and there’s no right way to choose other than to get down to the facts and get your basics right. Let’s dig in, then, shall we?

The burning question is: How do the various COVID vaccines work?

Although different vaccines work in different ways to provide protection, all of them leave the body with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that store vital information on how to fight a particular virus in the future.

The body normally produces these WBC’s a few weeks after the vaccination so it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus just before or after the procedure and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to build protection.

Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building immunity. 

Needless to say, all vaccines undergo a thorough phase by phase testing process under controlled settings to make sure they are safe to administer to the masses.

This brings us to our next question: How are vaccines tested for safety?

Before a vaccine is ever recommended for use, it’s tested in labs. This process can take anywhere between a few months to several years.

During a clinical trial, a vaccine is tested on people who volunteer to get vaccinated. Clinical trials usually start with 20 to 100 volunteers, but eventually include thousands of volunteers. These tests answer important questions like:

        Is the vaccine safe?

        What dose (amount) works best?

        How does the immune system react to it? 

Moreover, every single batch of vaccines is tested for quality and safety. Each batch is tested to make sure that the vaccine is potent, pure and sterile. Once spread to the masses, the vaccine is continuously monitored for safety.

So now that the safety is taken care of, how do we know that a specific vaccine works?

As mentioned earlier, vaccines undergo strict phased trials under controlled conditions. An important phase of these trials is testing on volunteers. Whether the vaccine works for the majority is what ultimately decides its efficacy.

For example, Sputnik V, the third vaccine approved in India  has demonstrated efficacy of 97.6%, based on the analysis of data on the infection rate of coronavirus among those in Russia vaccinated with both components of Sputnik V. It is based on human adenoviral vector that has been studied for decades, and therefore the vaccine is safe to use. Sputnik V vaccine has passed all necessary clinical trials, the analysis for which was published in The Lancet, one of the leading international medical journals. When all is said and done, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and following the accompanying guidelines is the only way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the deadly virus that has made life seem like a rollercoaster ride lately – only scarier!

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available – and this seems to be the best one at our disposal.

References:

1.       https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/how-they-work.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fvaccines%2Fabout-vaccines%2Fhow-they-work.html

2.       https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/safety


3 Comments

  1. Vaccine hesitancy is one of the key problems we are seeing with the general population... Need to do a better job of countering it with facts and data

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your research explains well about Sputnik V and its working one it gets into our bodies. Well, one thing is for sure that vaccines are the last and the safest option to end this pandemic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The condition right now is very critical, we all should understand the situation and we should opt for right vaccine ,is right choice.

    ReplyDelete

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