Should I take the covid-19 Vaccine
With a rise in the antivaccers and notable celebrities coming out against taking of the vaccine, there are many reasons why the covid-19 vaccine should be at the forefront of our thinking process.
This post is split into two main parts
1. What does current research look like for the covid-19 vaccine
2. Why take a vaccine
COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES
A singular vaccine within the research community does not seem to be the main focus. While news reporting will focus on which country will be the first to produce a vaccine as nations fight for superiority to be seen as leaders in research and development, the reality is that different versions of the same vaccine will to be developed and distributed.
In developing a vaccine, there are many concerns that need to be addressed.
What percentage of the global population needs to be vaccinated?
- The term herd immunity is something that was thrown around in the wrong context at the beginning of the outbreak in the UK and seems to be haunting us now.
Herd Immunity "the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination."
See how the above specifies the need to vaccination, context is always important.In order to determine the level of protection needed to achieve herd immunity, assumptions and calculations are made to get an Ro value.
What does R0 mean? – this is the reproductive rate of the virus and is what will be used to determine the level of herd immunity that is needed to be achieved.
In terms of the covid-19 vaccine, the percentage of the population that are predicted to need the vaccine varies and has been reported to be between 60-80% of the population. The number varies so much as R0 number is dependent on the variables used to calculate it. With many papers having values that differ the safer option will be to vaccinate as many as possible and leave no room for error.
Take home: herd immunity is an immunological parameter and earlier assumptions by notable government figures were not accurate as this is still something that scientist don’t fully understand how to achieve.
Who will need to take the vaccine?
A vaccine is usually given to protect people from a known disease and prevent illness in the population. I came across an instagram post that highlighted vaccines are developed for diseases that are difficult to treat.
What makes covid-19 difficult to treat? As much as the coronavirus covid-19 has a low mortality rate, the number of deaths worldwide is staggering. With more being announced daily and previously reported numbers changing, many healthcare professionals have expressed the weight this pandemic has. Covid-19 is a difficult disease to treat that puts a massive strain on healthcare systems.
Will Covid-19 positive individuals need the vaccine?
This question at first glance may seem quite silly but it is very important.
Why would someone that has already had a disease need the vaccine. To understand this, scientist need to understand what level of infection provides immunity.
Something that may be familiar in reports is that asymptomatic patients are reported for 44% of transmission of the virus. For this reason, you can categorise COVID-19 patients into two categories
1. hospitalised, symptomatic
The patients with a few symptoms that recover at home; leads to the question :do hospitalised groups produce more antibodies than patients that are asymptomatic?
Refresh: antibodies are responsible for fighting of the disease in our bodies. There are two types of antibody responses in immunity (innate and adaptive).
The level of antibody produced could determine the level of protection that the body has. A person that has been severely ill and recovered may have more antibodies produced and protecting them from a second infection, while an asymptomatic patient may have only be protected once and not for future infection.
Headlines suggesting an immunity passport have come up in order to reduce travel restriction and to the WHO have confirmed that this will not happen .Recent reports have shown that recovery from covid-19 does not provide immunity
2. What will be in the vaccine?
The teams developing the vaccines will help determine how the vaccine is delivered.
Vaccines can be made of different things and The nature scientific journal - takes a look at the vaccines being developed and their different mechanisms.
Since the west became the epicentre of the pandemic, many treatment and vaccine strategies have been thrown around.The contents of the vaccine are as important as the frequency as which it may need to be taken. Researchers predict that it may be common to influenza virus and as mentioned in vaccines part 1– viruses change over time and therefore similar to the influenza virus will be needed approximately every 2-3 years.
Take home: the road to a new vaccine will be an interesting one. There are many ways a vaccine can work and real progress and timelines of mass production will only be known when initial safety tests and understanding which vaccines provide an immune response is properly understood
WHY TAKE A VACCINE ?
Majority voted that they will not take the vaccine and one interaction highlighted that there was no need as “ not in the at risk population”, which is a very important statement.
The distribution of the vaccine will most likely be done in stages according to most reports with health workers and most vulnerable and at risk groups a priority.
With that being said, you will eventually be given the option to take the vaccine in the coming years.
What will make you take a vaccine? As I am currently living in the UK, I will focus on vaccination efforts based here.
Recent news shows that the University of Oxford has started human trials, but what does this mean for you?
The human trials involve healthy individuals in order to understand potential safety issues that needed and the ability of the vaccine to generate an immune response in the body.
“ It was chosen as the most suitable vaccine technology for a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine as it can generate a strong immune response from one dose and it is not a replicating virus, so it cannot cause an ongoing infection in the vaccinated individual. “
The beginning of human trials is a major step in vaccine development, but that does not mean it will be hastily offered.
What are the next steps?
1. If unsuccessful – back to the drawing board
2. If successful, larger scale testing
With the race to the production of a vaccine, it is easy to look at it at a country level but as the pandemic has shown, disease know no borders and therefore the distribution of the vaccine has to include the most at risk groups across the world.
Mentioned in the LSTM symposium, the distribution is heavily dependent on governments cooperation and policies that support an equitable distribution of the vaccine to all groups and not just the most privileged
Read Vaccines Part 1
Stay up to date with my Covid-19 research
Refrences - Hyperlinked where necessary