Early in January 2021, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved and permitted the kick-starting of the Covid-19 vaccination process with the Cambridge-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine with the priority age groups identified before the launch. The first groups to receive the vaccines were people over 80 years of age, health and care workers, and care home residents. The Cambridge-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is a DNA-based vaccine, unlike Pfizer’s RNA-based vaccine, which requires extremely high storage temperatures (around -70°C). The vaccine is produced by using a common cold virus that tricks the body to produce an immune reaction which is beneficial in fighting COVID-19. The vaccine is suitable for ages 18 years and over and no pediatric trial data is available for use in the population of under 18 years. The second dose is to be given 12 weeks after receiving the first jab of the AstraZeneca Vaccine.
How The Human Body Responds to The Covid-19 Vaccine
When the Cambridge-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is first injected into the human body and it enters the cells, a series of immune reactions are initiated. When the vaccine enters the cells, there is an onset of production of a protein found on the surface of the corona virus species. Once ample amounts of these Spike Proteins are produced, the body’s cellular immunity is activated.
This reaction results in the production of antibodies and T-cells which fight the foreign invaders which attack the body. Hence, people exposed to this vaccine can easily fight back if they ever pick-up the virus in the future. However, the body can take a few days up to a week to produce these antibodies to produce best results.
The Effect of Age and Vulnerability
As the vaccines roll-out into the market, ready to be used, there are major concerns about the safety and effectiveness amongst the masses and the governments. However, these concerns are valid when we talk about people over 60 years who have existing co-morbids as their systems are already at risk of being overloaded with the additional stress of vaccines preparatory mechanism.
However, as the third wave sweeps the world, the chances of getting infected and never recovering are worth considering before rejecting the covid-19 vaccine. The choice is totally up to the individuals at this stage right now till time proves further feasibility of the vaccine.
The major controversy attached to the vaccine is clotting and most of the people with clotting cases, after getting the Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine, had no direct link to the vaccine itself. Scientists claim that the two could be totally unrelated, and there was low risk of getting a brain sinus clot precisely because of the vaccine, as only 11 such cases, out of thousands who took the vaccine, were reported in the UK.
Comparing the Different Covid-19 Vaccines
The Oxford-Astrazeneca , PfizerBioNTech, Moderna, Janssen and the Novavax have some common and contrasting features which make them a tricky choice to pick from. The Oxford-Astrazeneca, PfizerBioNTech and Moderna have all earned approval from the UK and other governments while the other two are still in a pending stage. All of these are dual dose vaccine except the Jassen Vaccine which requires only a single dose. Storage temperatures of Novavax, Janssen and the AstraZeneca vaccine are the normal fridge temperatures while the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require below zero temperatures. This can be challenging when large doses have to be dispatched to remote areas with little to no cold storage facilities and can raise concerns over the quality and safety of vaccines being delivered.
Russia Covid-19 Vaccine
The Russian Covid-19 Vaccine Sputnik V joins the queue with the other covid-19 vaccines. The vaccine was approved and tagged ready to hit the trial phase and finally set to be administered in some countries including Pakistan, Iran, Argentina, Palestinian territories, Venezuela, Hungary and UAE. The results have deemed it safe to use and a viable source of protection with minimal side effects like injection site soreness, fever, fatigue, as is the case with most vaccines
Vaccine Prices Around the World
Different vaccines have started to emerge in the market. Some like Sputnik V are readily available for masses to be bought. Here is a comparison of varying prices of vaccines from different countries. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine sells for $37 per shot/ dose. Russian Sputnik V costs $10 per dose, while the AstraZeneca sells for $3 per single vaccination dose. According to UK prices of the vaccines Russian Sputnik V costs $10 per dose while the AstraZeneca sells for $4 per single vaccination dose, the Pfizer vaccines costs $20 while the Moderna vaccines cost $33. The prices are more or less the same around the world while some companies are only willing to sell through government contracts, others agree to make it available to the masses.
The Side Effects Vs. The Bright Side
Normally, after getting infected with the novel Corona Virus, the body can hold the antibodies for as long as 6 months. This coverage is even stronger with the vaccines and the time span is expected to provide greater immunity for individuals who get the complete covid-19 vaccine i.e. the two doses. The Pfizer and AstraZeneca Vaccine have been declared safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women and they can opt for any of these two where benefits outweigh the risks.
Vaccine Distribution and Vaccination Rates in Nigeria
On 2nd March 2021, Nigeria received 4 million covid-19 Astra Zeneca Vaccines via COVAX, to cater to the population which looks up to the government for the timely administration of the vaccine jab. So far, over 800,000 doses of the covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Nigeria. This is a great achievement in the war against COVID in Nigeria where over 2000 lives have been lost to the virus. This finally marks the beginning of a new era, an era of recovery. The first phase is expected to be served free of charge to the masses with the joint efforts of UNICEF in catering to impoverished regions.
Should You Take the Covid-19 Vaccine?
If you’re worried about the safety of the vaccine due to the speed of its creation, then your concerns are valid. The covid-19 vaccines haven’t been around long enough like other vaccines for polio, measles, yellow fever etc. to be able to generate sufficient data to undoubtedly verify both its safety and efficacy in all usage cases. Should you decide not to take the covid-19 vaccines, you should be actively taking steps to boost your immunity. However, the currently available data shows that the covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective against the corona virus.
If your concerns about the covid-19 vaccines are based on rumours that it contains microchips and other evil agents meant to destroy or control the world population, then you have more to fear than just the covid-19 vaccines because those rumours are false and baseless. In fact, many of the people pushing these rumours are secretly taking the covid-19 vaccines. For example, despite pushing many false stories about the covid-19 vaccines and coronavirus, Donald Trump and his wife secretly took the covid-19 vaccine and Femi Fani Kayode, who said the covid-19 vaccine is evil, also took the covid-19 vaccine recently.
It is looking likely that taking the covid-19 vaccine will be a requirement for international travel so if you are someone who travels frequently, you may be required to take the covid-19 vaccine. All in all, the covid-19 vaccine is a huge scientific step for humanity as it presents a way to manage the coronavirus pandemic so we can all go back to the way things used to be.