Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers and medical experts worldwide have been working tirelessly to develop effective vaccines to fight and combat the spread of the Coronavirus. Pharmaceutical majors like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca are working closely with governments and biotechnology companies across the world to boost the supply of vaccines.
The genetic sequence of SARS-COV-2 was available to work upon for the development of COVID-19 vaccines from 11 January 2020. Since then, governments worldwide have been involved in quickening the process of making a preventive vaccine against the dangerous virus. Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) pointed out that North America comprised 40% of the COVID-19 vaccine activities compared to 30% activities in Australia and Asia, 26% in Europe, and rested scattered in Africa and South America. The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases forced governments and health organizations to speed up the vaccination process, which resulted in the emergence of several vaccine candidates – from China’s CanSino Vaccine for limited use, Russia’s Sputnik V, Pfizer’s BioNTech Vaccine, India’s Covaxin, and Covishield, the Moderna Vaccine and many others. With so many COVID-19 vaccines being available, the decision to select the one most suitable for you may be intimidating. Hence, there are some key aspects of these vaccines that you should know at the very outset.
A vaccine is like an antidote that helps a person strengthen his/her immune system to prevent any infectious disease. When a vaccine is jabbed into your body, it introduces dead or inactive forms of the virus into the body, forcing your immune system to produce antibodies that will help your body from fighting any future infections. Vaccines accelerate the production of antibodies – the protein which helps your body get ready to fight the pathogens that have not even entered your body yet. It just puts your body in a standby mode so that your immunity is always on guard against any germs.
COVID-19 vaccines have been made available for vaccination programs across various countries only after it has cleared necessary clinical trials and scientific tests. Governments around the world have been trying to ensure that the distribution of vaccines is equal and fair. In several countries, priority groups have been developed, including front-line workers, healthcare workers, and people aged 50 years and above. The vaccination program is being rolled out in a phased manner to cover every population group in an organized manner.
Types of COVID-19 vaccines
When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, there are essentially three types of vaccines that have either been developed or are in the process of development: -
The Food and Drug Administration in the United States has flagged the use of three vaccines under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) – Pfizer BioNtech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. Pfizer has been authorized to use its vaccine for people older than 12 years of age. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have also been authorized for individuals whose age is 18+ years.
In the UK, the vaccines that have cleared the trial round and have been authorized for use are Pfizer’s BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, Novavax, and others.
In India, the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have cleared the trial rounds and have been authorized to be used under the country’s vaccination program. In the first phase of the vaccination program, free vaccination will be given to front-line workers, healthcare workers, Integrated Child Development Services workers, support staff, and medical students. All the data related to the vaccine program will be fed into a new digital platform called “CoWIN.” You can book your vaccination slot from the CoWIN app and get the jab at the designated hospitals or clinics near your location.
List of COVID-19 vaccines approved by WHO
Mentioned below are the different COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for inclusion on the Emergency Use Listing (EUL): -
Side effects of COVID-19 vaccines
Side effects like fever, pain, chills, and fatigue are very common. You need to relax and take care of yourself. These side effects will go away soon. You do not have to stress yourself over these side effects. This is a great sign because your body reacts against the external agent that has entered your body and is immunizing you against it.
Once you have received the vaccination, you are supposed to wait in the observatory room, where medical officers will monitor you for half an hour to check against any allergic reaction caused by the vaccine. You will have to be patient for 30 minutes and wait in the observatory room.
COVID-19 vaccines: Myths and Facts
Here are some of the most common myths around the COVID-19 vaccines and the actual facts that disprove these myths: -
Fact: - The vaccines that have been authorized by relevant authorities are safe to use. Despite being developed in a short time, they have approvals from federal authorities.
Fact: - There is no truth to this. COVID-19 vaccine will not have any impact on male or female reproductive systems.
Fact: - The vaccine is taken from the vial right in front of your eyes and then injected into the body. No chip can be injected into the human body as such.
Fact: - Some individuals have reported normal side effects like fever or fatigue after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. This is the normal case with all vaccines. Only those individuals who have a history of severe allergies must consult a doctor before taking the vaccine.
Fact: Masking, handwashing, and physical distancing are still necessary to control the spread of the virus till global immunization has been achieved.
Global vaccination is the only potent solution available against this deadly virus. Hence, do not pay heed to any rumors doing rounds on social media regarding which COVID vaccine is best. Refer only to expert opinions for any information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. Make your appointment using the CoWIN platform, visit the center at the specified time, and not unnecessarily create a crowd at the vaccination center.
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