As there is no specific treatment so far to overcome the deadly disease of COVID-19, sufferers are only managed symptomatically and supportive. So how we can get rid of this disease? There are two ways: one is herd immunity, which is hard to get at the cost of many lives, and another is the vaccine.A vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is perhaps the best hope for ending the pandemic.
We have heard about the COVID-19 vaccine since the emerging of the disease. The quick development and approval of a vaccine may increase our hesitancy about its safety or effectiveness. We might think that the COVID-19 vaccine is not safe because it was rapidly developed. The emergency situation warranted an emergency response, that does not mean that companies bypassed safety protocols or perform adequate testing.
This vaccine was created using a novel technology based on the molecular structure of the virus. The novel methodology to develop a COVID-19 vaccine allows it to be free from materials of animal origin and synthesised by an efficient, cell-free process without preservatives.
If you already had COVID-19 and recovered, what should you do? There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you have had COVID-19. However, those that had COVID-19 should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis. People should not get vaccinated if in quarantine after exposure or if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
While the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others. Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing will be important. While some people that receive the vaccine may develop symptoms as their immune system responds, remember that this is common when receiving any vaccine and not considered serious or life-threatening. You cannot get COVID-19 infection from the COVID-19 vaccines; they are inactivated vaccines and not live vaccines.
It is important to recognise that getting the vaccine is not just about survival from COVID-19. It is about preventing the spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects. While no vaccine is 100% effective, they are far better than not getting a vaccine. The benefits certainly outweigh the risks in healthy people.
The article is compiled from various sources including The World Health Organisation, Mayo Clinic Health System and Centres for Disease Control websites. The writer is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Z H Sikder Women's Medical College and Hospital, Dhaka.