Health Guidance Malaysia

The Science Behind COVID-19 Vaccines

by Pavithra Mohan

The whole world has experienced some impact from the COVID-19 pandemic
which caused scientists to create vaccines faster than they ever had before. Figuring out the way these vaccines operate scientifically can make people less afraid of them and make it more likely for them to get vaccinated. In this article, we are going to discuss how COVID-19 shots work, their safety, and why they are essential in dealing with the pandemic.

Vaccinations against COVID-19 teach our immune systems to identify and
combat SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Most vaccinations
accomplish this by injecting a safe portion of the virus into our bodies.

There are various vaccines available for COVID-19, including mRNA vaccines, of which Pfizer-BioNTech is an example. mRNA vaccines function by utilizing a tiny portion of the virus’s messenger RNA, or genetic material, to instruct the body’s cells to produce a spike protein, which is found in the virus. Even while this protein by itself is safe, if the real virus ever makes its way into the body, it aids the immune system in recognizing and combating it.

Besides, Vector Vaccines also fall into the category of Covid-19 vaccines. For
instance, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines use the viral vector which is a different virus modified to carry the genetic material of coronavirus. Once it gets into the body, it gives directions to cells for making spike protein so that an immune response may be triggered meanwhile.

However, the COVID-19 vaccine includes more than just vector vaccines; it also has inactivated vaccines. For instance, Sinovac-CoronaVac, containing a dead version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is used so that it cannot replicate, but the surface spike protein remains intact to activate the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against the live virus if it enters.

Are the vaccine shots safe? This question has worried some people. It is
important to know that no safety measures were bypassed even though the
timetable was faster than normal. There were several factors that played into how fast the vaccine was made which is most notable, a worldwide effort where scientists and researchers shared resources and data. Additionally, previous studies on similar viruses such as SARS or MERS gave us a head start. Also, advanced technology like mRNA helped speed things up even more. All COVID-19 vaccines that are being used have been tested through extensive clinical trials to make sure they work well and are safe. Tens of thousands of people from different races took part in these experiments.

Vaccination is vital for the control of the COVID-19 pandemic since vaccination protection significantly decreases the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. It is important to target that 95% of the population is vaccinated and achieves ‘herd immunity’. This implies that enough people have immunity so that the disease does not spread, thus protecting those who cannot be vaccinated. It should be kept in mind that high rates of vaccination can help slow down virus transmission which in turn reduces opportunities for new variants to develop.

It is important to know the science that underlies COVID-19 vaccines because
doing so will help dispel fears and misunderstandings. When people get vaccinated, they are not only shielding themselves but also participating in bringing this global catastrophe to an end.


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