As you may know, the NHS are currently in the process of administering the nation with a booster jab. The booster jab is essential in helping to maximise protection against Covid-19.
Firstly, in trying to understand the full use of vaccines in general, it is hard to miss their useful effect in the past. Since vaccines have been introduced in the UK, either diseases such as smallpox and polio have been eliminated or cases are very rare. This is a positive indication of the work vaccines do.
Next, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the biggest threats to global health. Vaccine hesitancy is a delay or reluctance to accept vaccines from those who have access to available vaccines. Anti-vaccine stories and posts have quickly gained notoriety on social media. However, these are often based on opinion and not scientific research.
Understandably, there has been concern about how the vaccine was so readily available after just mere months of the Covid-19 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes Covid-19. Scientists were not starting from scratch when developing this vaccine. SARS-CoV-2 is a member of the Coronavirus family, of which there are hundreds. These include four that can cause the common cold. Scientists have been studying Coronaviruses for over 50 years. Scientists from all over the world mobilized to share their own research and knowledge of Coronaviruses which enabled quick and efficient production of the vaccine.
Additionally, vaccines undergo rigorous monitoring after being made available to the public. This is to ensure that any serious side effects that become known can be appropriately treated. Side effects such as pain in the arm where injected or a headache are common and can be expected after receiving a dose of the vaccine. More serious side effects such as blood-clotting are extremely rare.
For those concerned with what is in the Covid-19 vaccine, the NHS state that the “main ingredient for any vaccine is a small amount of bacteria, virus, or toxin that has been weakened or destroyed in a lab first”.
This is also why the Covid-19 vaccine requires several doses or ‘booster shots’ for maximum immunity. The Covid-190 vaccine is a killed vaccine – as opposed to a live vaccine – which means that the virus or bacteria has been destroyed in this particular vaccine instead of weakened. This means that for optimum immune memory, two or more doses of the vaccine is best to ensure protection.
A killed vaccine is better for mass vaccination as it is a vaccine that can be given to people with weakened immune systems (such as those with allergies or undergoing intense treatments). This is not the case with a live vaccine.
The points in this post are the major concerns surrounding vaccination against Covid-19. We hope that this has answered some of the questions you may have about the safety of the vaccine. Mont Rose College encourages its students and staff to get vaccinated for their own safety as well as everyone around them.