Global Vaccines and Immunization
As the world continues to battle the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) in conjunction with other health agencies keeps looking for the most effective ways to contain the pandemic. From the onset of the outbreak, they’ve done a great job at tracking and sensitizing people on useful and effective measures to prevent further spread and transmission. And to crown their efforts, they are racing to get healthy and effective vaccines distributed throughout the world as fast as possible.
Since its invention in 1796 when it was first tried in smallpox, vaccines have saved millions of lives. Its high effectiveness is a result of its ability to prepare the body’s natural defences against a new disease like the coronavirus. By introducing the immune system to the infectious microorganisms in their weakened or dead state, vaccines enable the body to recognize and fight against infectious strains of a virus or bacteria when it comes in contact with it.
Though measures like the wearing of face masks and social distancing have been incredibly useful in the fight against COVID-19, vaccines remain the most vital tool we can use to put a stop to the spread and transmission of the disease. This is why the successful efforts of scientists and health organizations around the world in discovering and developing new vaccines have brought so much relief and hope.
As of the 14th of April 2021, over 800 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in 189 locations, and at least 200 vaccine candidates are undergoing tests and improvements. Some of the authorized vaccines includes:
- The Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, also known as Comirnaty
- The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, sold under the brand names Vaxzevria and Covishield
- The Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine
Even after these vaccines have been tried clinically, they continue to undergo monitoring by the scientific communities to ensure that there’s no deviation from the safety standards, as any anomaly might lead to people having side effects from the vaccines.
Furthermore, since there is still a global shortage of vaccines, WHO, in addition to ensuring effective production and distribution, also guides various countries on the right way to distribute the vaccines to ensure high effectiveness. This helps clear out some confusion as to who is supposed to get the vaccines and when. Should the most vulnerable members of society be given first? Should countries also vaccinate vulnerable non-citizens? WHO makes sure that health agencies administer the vaccines rightly both ethically and medically.
Addressing the Problem of Vaccine Hesitancy
Despite the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that only safe and effective vaccines are distributed, many people still doubt the efficacy of the vaccine. The most common reason for this includes:
- The fear that there might be side effects since there isn’t much evidence as to whether or not the vaccines are safe
- Confusion and fear caused by misinformation most of which have to do with rumors about conspiracy theories
- Lack of trust for medical institutions due to the poor state of health facilities and personnel in some countries
To address this hesitancy, measures have been put in place. For instance, by enlisting the public help in its verified initiative, the United Nations encourages the public to make sure a piece of information is confirmed and trusted before being disseminated. Furthermore, communication guidelines have also been released to educate health agencies on how to overcome vaccine hesitancy.
COVID-19 Vaccination Is Vital In Putting A Stop to the Pandemic
A lot of measures have been put in place to ensure rigorous supervision of the production of the vaccines to ensure high effectiveness and zero side effects.
In fact, a growing body of research suggests that people who take the COVID-19 vaccines are less likely to have asymptomatic infections. Meaning, any infection can be quickly spotted and treated without causing any further spread. Taking the vaccine also equips your immune system to be effective against COVID-19 if you do come in contact with it.
In the meantime, it is important to remember that being vaccinated isn’t a license for us to throw away useful measures like social distancing or wearing nose masks. There is no doubt that vaccination will be a game-changer in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, nonetheless, we must continue to do what’s needed to prevent further spread and transmission on our part.