With SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the pandemic, spreading rapidly throughout the world and infecting and killing millions, researchers who have been working round the clock have developed vaccines against this deadly virus in less than a year. Read on to know how these COVID-19 vaccines work, how it was developed in such a short time, and if they are safe.
People in different countries have access to many vaccines. All the approved vaccines have to pass three phases of trials, proving that they are safe and effective. The final stage usually involves thousands of volunteers. The following are the vaccines that have been approved for emergency use in the wake of the pandemic:
1. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
2. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
3. Covaxin by Bharat Biotech.
4. The Oxford AstraZeneca (Covishield in India).
5. Coronavac by Sinovac.
6. The Sputnik V vaccine.
7. Johnson & Johnson.
8. Vaccine BBIBP-CorV.
How Do COVID-19 Vaccines Work?
COVID-19 vaccines signal your immune system to produce antibodies, which fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Immunity against a virus is usually developed after the body has previously been infected. Vaccines achieve this without the need for the person to get infected. So once you are vaccinated, your body’s defense is ready to fight off the Coronavirus in the future.
How Were These Vaccines Developed so Fast?
It is not easy to develop vaccines in under a year. The reason why COVID-19 vaccines were developed so fast is that scientists already had a good idea about this virus. There are hundreds of Coronaviruses, and a few cause the common cold, while the others cause SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). So, scientists were already at work to find vaccines for these strains of Coronavirus. But with the magnitude of this pandemic, scientists from all over the world shared data with each other, and advances in genomic sequencing resulted in developing COVID-19 vaccines in record time.
Are These Vaccines Safe?
As mentioned before, all vaccines have to pass through several stages of trials before it gets approved for use in the general population. The immediate effects of the new vaccine are tested, but as with any new medicine or vaccine, the long-term effects are not known. The thing to consider here is the risks of a vaccine (which has undergone several testing) are much more predictable and treatable than the unpredictable dangers of getting infected with SARS-CoV-2. We know for sure that these vaccines prevent severe infections (which might need hospitalization) if the vaccinated person gets infected in the future.
With COVID-19 vaccines slowly rolling out, and while you wait to get vaccinated, do not forget to:
* Wear a mask in public.
* Keep washing your hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
* Cover your sneeze and cough with a tissue.
* Not touch your face repeatedly.
* Clean and disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces.
* Avoid handshakes.
* Stay at home if you are sick.
* Stay 6 feet away from other people.
* Avoid crowds.
As not everyone is vaccinated, follow these preventive measures even if you are fully vaccinated. Also, consume a balanced diet and stay as active as possible to keep your body and immunity strong to fight infectious diseases, including COVID-19. When it is your turn, get vaccinated and help put an end to this pandemic.
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