Does Vaccination Eliminate the Risk of Getting Corona?
07 May, 2021 | Raja
COVID-19 entered our lives at the end of the year 2019, and it has stayed way longer than we anticipated. People started to use several different antibiotics to treat themselves, not knowing that the virus cannot be treated or prevented by taking antibiotics.
For most people, COVID-19 can be treated like any other cold by taking rest, eating healthy and drinking lots of fluids. However, for people who develop more severe illness and need to be hospitalized, health care workers may use supplemental oxygen. In extreme cases, they may also have to put the patient on ventilation to keep them afloat.
The End of COVID-19: A New Hope
As soon as this virus emerged, scientists began researching its cure. With combined global effort and billions of dollars of investment for the first time in history, scientists came up with the COVID-19 Vaccine in record-breaking time. All this was possible due to the decades of work that was funnelled into the new vaccine technology.
Vaccines prepare the body’s immune system, allowing it to fight disease-causing organisms, called pathogens. A vaccine is introduced to the body to mimic the infection, which triggers the body to produce antibodies without actually getting the disease. Conventional vaccines contained a weakened or inactivated pathogen or a part of a pathogen called an antigen.
mRNA vaccines are a new generation of vaccines. mRNAs are molecules within the body that contain genetic instructions for cells to make various proteins which are essential for the body to function correctly. Once it is inside the body’s cell, the mRNA is translated into protein. The antigen is then displayed on the cell’s surface, where the body’s immune system recognizes it.
The sequence of events is similar to that of a conventional vaccine from here onwards. These vaccines are easier and safer to produce, expanding access to more people. mRNA vaccines have been researched for over two decades in the hopes of fighting diseases such as rabies, cancer, ebola etc.
COVID-19 Vaccination in the UK
Several COVID-19 Vaccines are under development by countries worldwide. Currently, three COVID-19 Vaccines have been approved by the National Health Service (NHS) to be administered in public, in the UK :
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use the new mRNA technology. However, Oxford’s AstraZeneca utilizes DNA instead of the RNA genetic sample.
Which COVID-19 Vaccine is better?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have high efficacy rates, 95% and 94%, respectively, whereas AstraZeneca has an efficacy rate of 67%. However, it is important to not compare these vaccines based on these numbers alone.
How is a Vaccine’s Efficacy Rate Calculated?
A vaccine’s efficacy rate is calculated in large clinical trials, where the vaccine is tested on thousands of people. The people participating in the trials are divided into two groups. Half of the people participating in the clinical trials get the vaccines, and the other half get the placebo. The scientists then monitor if they contract COVID-19 over several months or not. The participants then go on about living their lives.