Understandably, the impending arrival of the vaccines has raised a number of questions and we will try to answer some of these as best we can.
What is a vaccine?
According to the World Health Organisation, a vaccine uses your body’s natural defences to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger.
What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine creates an antibody response to the coronavirus in your body. Antibodies help fight off infections. The vaccine might prevent you from getting COVID-19, but if you do get infected, the vaccine might keep you from becoming seriously ill or from developing severe complications. What’s more, the science behind some of the vaccines being developed to defeat COVID-19 could potentially be used to destroy other diseases, including cancer.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), states that if a vaccine is approved, it means that it has shown to have a good safety profile with low risk of any serious adverse side-effects. However, as with any vaccine, there may be a series of mild and short-term side-effects such as pain at the injection site, fatigue or headache. This is normal - it means the immune response is kicking in.
Who will receive the vaccines?
Locally, the vaccines will initially be rolled out to front line healthcare professionals, followed by essential workers such as teachers, police, and municipal personnel. People in institutions such as old age homes, prisons and shelters, as well as those over 60 and adults with co-morbidities will also be prioritised for inoculation. Thereafter, the remaining adult population will be vaccinated.
Can I vaccinate my children?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 16 yet, but trials are underway around the world to develop vaccines that are safe for kids.
Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine even if I've already had COVID-19?
Yes. Although getting COVID-19 might provide some natural protection or immunity from reinfection, it is uncertain how long this protection lasts. As reinfection is possible and COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications, it is advised that those who have already been infected get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The vaccines are our best hope for ending the pandemic. However, their arrival does not mean that we should stop taking safety precautions like wearing a mask in public and washing our hands regularly. It is the combination of these that will help put an end to the COVID-19 crisis,” says Paul Cox, Managing Director at the Essential Group of Companies, which includes EssentialMED.
Speak to your doctor if you have any more questions about the vaccines.