What Exactly is the Coronavirus Vaccine?
Multiple vaccines have been developed by various pharmaceutical brands around the world to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the more mainstream vaccines that is being distributed is the Pfizer BionNtech coronavirus vaccine, which has been considered to be safe and effective by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Another major vaccine is the vaccine being produced by Moderna, which has recently submitted its Emergency Use Application (EUA).
How is the Coronavirus Vaccine Being Distributed?
Healthcare personnel and the elderly are some of the first groups who are receiving the vaccine. Individuals with under-lying health conditions that can make them more susceptible to the virus are also among those scheduled to take the vaccine first. As these high-priority groups finish their vaccinations, the vaccine can be administered to a wider demographic.
How Does the Vaccine Actually Work?
There are 3 different types of vaccines being produced currently. The vaccine being produced by frontrunners such as Pfizer and Moderna utilize an mRNA vaccine that has never been licensed in the USA.
An mRNA vaccine functions by giving our cell instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After the cell makes copies of these harmless proteins, it will destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Afterwards, the body will recognize that this protein is abnormal will build lymphocytes — defensive white blood cells — that will help to fight the COVID-19 vaccine if encountered.
The second kind of vaccine is the protein-subunit vaccine, which uses harmless proteins of the COVID-19. The body’s immune system will recognize that these proteins are unnatural and will make antibodies that will fight off the virus in the future.
Lastly, vector vaccines contain a weakened strain of a virus that contains genetic material from the COVID-19 virus. This is referred to as a viral vector. After the viral vector enters our cells, the genetic information causes the cell to produce proteins that are unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. The protection of these cells prompts the body to build lymphocytes that fight the virus.
Are There Any Possible Risks of the Vaccine?
As of right now, the long-term results of this vaccine are still largely unknown. Similarly to other vaccines, those who take it will experience some side effects such as fatigue, fever, and flu-like symptoms. Further testing will reveal more information regarding the vaccine and the effect it has on the body.
What are the Benefits of Taking the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Taking the vaccine offers a safer way to building protection because you do not need to actually contract the virus to develop immunity. It can keep you safe from the virus by preventing any severe illness, and getting vaccinated can also protect those around you.
The vaccine helps to fight the virus along with masks and social distancing because the vaccine allows your body’s immune system to develop to where it can fight off the virus.
The vaccine will be a two-shot process, the first shot builds protection and the second shot is needed to further strengthen immunity to the virus.
Currently only 2 vaccines have been approved for full use, with 15 being in large-scale efficacy scale tests, 16 in expanded safety trials, and 39 vaccines are testing for safety and dosage. Australia recently cancelled 51 million coronavirus vaccine doses made by Australian firm CSL after subjects were returning false HIV positive results. Fortunately, there is no real risk to the participants’ health.