No vaccine has, or can, claim to be 100% preventive.
They can, however, protect people from serious illness and possible death. We know that although children are vaccinated against many diseases, including TB, measles and mumps, to name a few, they can still contract these viruses.
Although some of these diseases would have been life-threatening, vaccines have greatly reduced their intensity and impact.
The Covid vaccine is no different. With almost three billion people having been fully vaccinated around the world, approximately 11 million of whom are in SA, we know that vaccines have reduced the incidents of serious illness and deaths.
However, as with all other vaccines, you can still contract the virus even if you have been vaccinated. You may ask, therefore, what is the point of taking the vaccine?
Covid uses its “spike” protein to enter the cells of your body, following which the virus multiplies rapidly, making you very sick.
The vaccine teaches your body’s immune system to manufacture a copy of the “spike” protein and begin to create antibodies to fight the virus.
If you are then infected, your body “sees” the spike protein and triggers the immune response to fight the virus.
We are also seeing in people who are infected following vaccination, that the intensity of the infection is reduced and the possibility of death minimised.
Since your body has been prepared to fight the infection, it does not have to work as hard and because the infection is not as severe due to this preparation, your body’s response can be far more effective.
The vaccine gives your body a head start to respond to the virus. Because of this, as well as the proven safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, we encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated.
We should ideally get to at least 80% of our population being vaccinated. We are now at 25%. The vaccines are safe.
With almost 20 million people in the country having received at least one dose, not a single death can be attributed to the vaccine.
- Rozani works for the National Health Services Trust in Manchester