There’s a new hope in the fight against Covid-19… 2 vaccines that have received emergency approval. It’s been a long 2020, and the first half of 2021 is likely to be just as bitter unfortunately. But, we’re slowly making progress towards herd immunity through both the vaccines and natural immunity from those who have had a Covid infection and have natural immunity. So, what do these new vaccines have to do with herd immunity? When the virus is looking for new hosts to infect, those with higher immunity will be immune and when an area reaches a certain level of immunity the virus will run out of hosts and thus drastically slow the virus, or someday even wipe it out. Now, in the case of Covid it’s unlikely we’ll ever eradicate it. It’s what is called an endemic virus, but it can be managed. And we’re on the right path to doing so now.
So, what do you need to know about the new vaccines? They’re both based on a new technology that utilizes mRNA. Which is a messenger vaccine. It’s the first of it’s kind, used in vaccines or in humans. And on such a large scale it’s going to be quite the test of it’s efficacy and safety. There are other companies in phase 3 trials for attenuation vaccines. These vaccines use an inactive or dead piece of virus to show your immune system the bad guy without causing an infection. So that when it does encounter the real virus it will know to attack it and keep you from getting sick, or you’ll get a milder sickness than you would have before getting the vaccine. The messenger vaccines send a message to your cells to create a replica of the virus, so that it trains your immune system on what to look out for and it will attack the virus if encountered.
Side effects and adverse reactions, should I be worried? That depends. If you’re someone that has experienced a serious allergy to a drug or food in the past, it’s advised that you don’t take these vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer). There may be safer alternatives for you in the future from one of the many (over 100 companies!) companies that are developing vaccines now. It’s highly likely you’ll find a good match at some point. Especially if you try one using the old school attenuation type technology.
In summary… if you’re a person that may be at high risk for serious disease you should take a vaccine. If you’re someone who wants to help bring this pandemic to an end and don’t have serious allergies, you should take it. If enough people take it there will be control over this insideous disease. If not, this pandemic will rage on. And no one wants that right?!