Covid-19 along with its variants also known as the pandemic of this century is defined as an illness caused by a novel coronavirus. People with age 60 years and above, and also those with primary medical problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or cancer, are at a higher risk.
Is COVID-19 Vaccine safe?
The primary concern of the public regarding various covid-19 vaccines is whether it is safe to take the COVID-19 vaccine or not. The objective of the world vaccine system is to ensure that all the vaccines are safe and effective. Safety is indeed the priority while manufacturing the vaccine. All the covid-19 vaccines had gone under testing to test the effectiveness and safety before making it available to the general public
Covid -19 Vaccines however, there are certain covid-19 vaccines for which national and international regulatory authorities have approved the use. These vaccines help our body progress immunity to the virus that causes covid-19 without us having to get the illness. Currently there are some specific covid-19 vaccines that are authorized and recommended or undergoing large scale clinical trials worldwide.
● Pfizer is one of majorly trialled mRNA vaccines. It is shot in the muscle of the upper arm. It is shot twice with a gap of 21 days and is recommended for people aged 16 and above.
●Moderna is another vaccine which too is shot in the muscle of the upper arm and is recommended for people aged 18 and above. Moderna vaccine was found 94% effective after testing the vaccine on 30000 volunteers.
● Sputnik is a widely practiced mRNA covid vaccine given to people aged above 18 up to 60 years, twice with a day gap of 28.
● Covaxin and Covishield are two vaccines which are clinically trialled in India and are approved for people aged 18 years and above. Clinic trials will have to be conducted to ascertain whether these vaccines are safe on children and teenagers.
● Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/ Janssen) is a viral vector vaccine which is shot for once in the muscle of upper arm and is recommended for people aged 18 and older.
● Similarly, mRNA vaccines are new but not unknown. These mRNA vaccines don’t use the virus directly that causes Covid-19.
The vaccines Pfizer and Moderna showed efficacy of 95% and 94.1% respectively with two shots each but comparing efficacy of these vaccines to efficacy of J&J’s is challenging because of differences in design of the Phase 3 clinic test.
J&J’s vaccine was shown to be 66% protective against moderate to severe covid infection in a multi-country study. Importantly, it was 85% effective in protecting against severe disease. There were no deaths among people in the large clinical trial. Moreover, there was variability based on geographic locations. Still the vaccine was 72% effective in the US, 66% in South America and 57% in South Africa. According to above given figures Johnson and Johnson Janssen’s vaccine is the best vaccine till date.
There now arises a question about the efficacy period of these vaccines. Coronavirus vaccines are still so new that more time is needed to study how long immunity lasts. Studies currently available show that people who were vaccinated had a very strong immunity to Covid-19. It looks like immunity will last a while but researchers need to follow immune levels over time. At this point we’re not sure if immunity will last a year or ten years or if there will be a need for a booster shot at some point.
Feedbacks from the public on a large scale says that on average a fifth of people think that the outbreak has been contained and the danger will soon be over. But more than twice as many people disagree, expressing concerns that the threat from the virus is ongoing. Regardless of differing opinions about the virus, the majority respondents were united in their desire to stay informed about its spread.86% of people have seen, read or heard about the outbreak a great deal or a fair amount. 85% of people are in favour of mandatory screening while 66% of them support travel bans on travellers from infected countries.
There are now clear warnings of a global downturn as factories remain shut, workers continue to fall sick and healthcare systems become overwhelmed. Mitigating the health emergency and extent of economic loss will not be easy for any country of the world.
COVID-19 has already exceeded the death toll of the more recent outbreaks of Ebola, MERS and SARS. At the moment, it is hard to calculate and estimate the true impact of coronavirus beyond the probable human toll. The outbreak is on-going and researchers are continuing to learn about the new variants and mutants of this deadly virus.