Vaccination Will Play A Key Role In Our Battle With COVID-19

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By Likita Gowda

Vaccines save millions of lives every year. Children and people are protected from numerous diseases thanks to effective vaccines. Vaccination has also helped us eradicate diseases like smallpox while Polio is nearing its end thanks to it. And given the pandemic that we are living in currently, vaccines are critical in saving us. With no known cure, COVID-19 has taken many lives, affected billions of people and is still raging like a wildfire causing disruption to livelihoods everywhere. The situation that all of us are in is indeed very grim and devastating. But what will help us fight this is effective and rapid vaccination. 

2021 has seen numerous vaccines being approved on an emergency basis and being administered to people (close to 300 million doses have been administered so far). These vaccines have efficacies varying from 70 to 95% - which is great considering the dire situation we are in. In India we currently have Covishield and Covaxin being administered. Sputnik V and Sputnik Light are going to be rolled out soon as well. And if we want to get back to any sort of ‘normalcy’ in our lives, getting vaccinated is crucial. But getting vaccinated doesn’t mean we forget all the safety measures we must follow. One must maintain distance, wear a mask and isolate even after vaccination.

Now, how does a vaccine work?

Vaccines essentially have killed viruses or weakened viruses which train our immune system to recognize them and build antibodies against them. Once a person is vaccinated, their immune system is ready to fight the virus in the future and prevent disease. 

And like any other vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine can also cause mild to moderate side effects like fever, mild pain or swelling. But the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the perceived risks involved. Firstly, it will help reduce mortality & the need for hospitalisation - even if a person gets infected with the virus post vaccination, the disease will be mild and the vaccine can help prevent death. Secondly, it will help bring down the number of cases. Once a significant number of people are vaccinated, this coupled with people who have already developed immunity against the virus by getting the disease will help us achieve herd immunity. And over time with more data in hand, these vaccines will be improved and made more effective than they already are. 

What matters the most now is that people should be accepting the vaccine rather than rejecting it. And they shouldn’t have false beliefs regarding the safety of the vaccines. If governments, global and national health organizations are approving vaccines to be administered to billions of people, we must trust that they are both safe and effective. The world hasn’t needed as many vaccines to be produced as much as now. And this is an area of concern as many parts of the world are facing a vaccine shortage. But the good news is that global investment in vaccine production for COVID-19 is very strong and we should have enough vaccines and a majority of the world’s population vaccinated by the end of 2021. Here’s being hopeful that we got this and we are going to get over this sooner than later. Please consider getting yourselves vaccinated and help the world defeat COVID-19.




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