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In one of our previous articles, we have known all about the COVID-19 vaccines – how they work, what are the different types of vaccines, the available ones in the Philippines, and where can we immediately get them. In this one, we will focus on the benefits getting vaccinated could make, hence, bringing us closer to the answer as to “why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?”
“Why not?” is not a good answer. As of this writing, we have 53,770 active cases and 8,748 newly-reported cases for the day. Most of these cases are said to be mild, but the effects vary depending on other factors, like the health condition of the person. Obviously, despite months of quarantine and an intense public safety campaign, common practices are not enough. We really have to do better than wearing masks and face shields, washing hands, and practicing social distancing. We need to get vaccinated.
To get vaccinated for COVI-19 or not get vaccinated?
The answer is “yes.” Yes, you should get vaccinated. It is the best and easiest thing to do in order to avoid getting and spreading illnesses.
There are very few and rare cases where people can not get a vaccine for legitimate medical conditions. And these are very rare cases.
Getting vaccinated is not only beneficial to you, it is also good for the community. This is called herd immunity. The idea is that if everyone gets vaccinated, there is less chance for an illness to spread. Think of it as a crowd walking under the rain. Without umbrellas, everybody gets wet. If some people have umbrellas, some people do not get wet. But if everybody has umbrellas, nobody gets wet, even the small minority who can not use umbrellas.
Getting vaccinated is not about only saving yourself, it is also about saving others.
Do not believe the people who argue that vaccines are harmful. Misinformation and fake news about vaccines are prevalent online. The only way to counter this is by properly doing online research using legitimate medical sources and articles. And of course, you need fast internet to access more data, like fiber internet. Streamtech provides fiber internet service to make this possible. It also offers affordable fiber home internet plans that can come as a cable and internet bundle. Aside form its unlimited internet plans, Streamtech provides other amazing products like wifi extenders. Everything you need to know about vaccines can be accessed online quickly and without interruption.
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How do vaccines work?
Again, to understand how vaccines work, we first need to understand how immunity works. The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that protects us from infection. When a germ, bacteria, or microbe enters our body, the immune system defeats it and records it. The next time the immune system detects it, it recognizes it and destroys it quickly to avoid infection. This is how we become immune to a particular illness.
Vaccines are usually weakened or dead versions of a virus. This version of the virus does not pose any harm when introduced into our body. The immune system detects it, defeats it, and records it. When the live version of the virus enters our body, it gets recognized and defeated quickly. This is how vaccines help us gain immunity.
The whole process is also very similar to how spyware and viruses work on computers. Your antivirus program contains an updated list of known computer viruses and spyware. When the unwanted software gets detected, it gets blocked, contained, or deleted. You can then continue browsing the internet at home. If you do not have an antivirus program, get one. And if you are not vaccinated yet, get vaccinated. We can not stress this enough.
Types of COVID-19 vaccines
While there are different brands, the COVID-19 vaccines available in the country fall under any of three categories. The vaccines are categorized according to how it was made. The basic principle as discussed above is still the same: vaccines trigger your immune system so you gain immunity. The Food and Drug Administration has granted an Emergency Use Authorization to all vaccines that are locally available. This list will contain general information about these vaccines. If you have a reliable internet connection, like a fiber internet at home, we recommend that you check online for more details.
1. Inactivated vaccines
Do not let the name fool you. Inactivated vaccines are the conventional vaccines that we have been using ever since. It is called “inactivated” because it uses a weakened or dead version of the virus. Sinovac’s CoronaVac, also known simply as “Sinovac,” falls under this category. Sinovac has recently made headlines after a Bloomberg article reported that it has exceeded expectations and is proven to be highly reliable.
Another brand that falls under this category is Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech in India. The live COVID-19 virus is weakened and inactivated in their special facilities.
2. Viral vector-based vaccines
This type of vaccine utilizes a modified, harmless virus to deliver the information our immune system needs. COVID-19 vaccines of this type uses a harmless adenovirus to deliver instructions to create the COVID virus’ spike proteins. Adenoviruses are a type of virus associated with the common cold. When the adenovirus is absorbed by a cell, it displays the said spike proteins. The immune system recognizes that it does not belong in the body, and triggers the production of antibodies. The benefit of using this kind of vaccine is that there are no risks of getting infected by either the COVID-19 virus or the adenovirus.
Sputnik V, developed in Russia, falls under this category. It is actually the first COVID-19 vaccine in the world that was authorized for use. Sputnik V is made up of two different adenoviruses that are given separately in the first and second dose.
AstraZeneca uses an adenovirus that causes common cold in chimpanzees to do the job. This adenovirus is harmless and will not infect humans. AstraZeneca recently made headlines after the suspension of its use because of reports of blood clotting. After an investigation, it was found that the vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of blood clotting. It was also acknowledged that there were small and very rare reports of serious blood clotting disorders. The suspension has since been lifted after the vaccine’s safety had been established.
Janssen from Johnson and Johnson also uses an adenovirus. Unlike the other vaccines in this list, Janssen is given in a single dose.
3. mRNA vaccines
This is the newest type of vaccine. The other types of vaccines need the introduction of a virus in order to trigger the immune system. mRNA vaccines, on the other hand, teaches the cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The benefit of mRNA vaccines is that these can be made with readily available materials. This means that it is easier and faster to develop and produce.
Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna are both mRNA vaccines. They both have similar side effects and effectiveness. The only difference, basically, is that Pfizer can be administered to younger people, at least 12 years old.
The Side Effects
After getting vaccinated, you will definitely experience side effects. Do not panic. Side effects are proof that your body’s defenses are responding to the vaccine. The most common side effects can range from fatigue, slight fever, headaches, muscle aches, and pain where you got injected. These side effects will usually appear within a few days but will also go away. Most people experience more intense side effects after getting their second shot.
While experiencing side effects, your daily activities will definitely be affected.
Get enough rest, drink lots of water, and wait for the side effects to disappear.
Every person may experience less or more side effects. Some even don’t experience any at all. Regardless, if your side effects will not go away or if it starts to worry you, consult a doctor.
With a strong and reliable fiber internet connection, you will always be able to research online if what you are experiencing is normal.
Which vaccine is good for me?
This is a very good question. If you have a good internet connection, you can easily research more information online. There are comparisons done of efficacy rates and side effects. In general, these vaccines share a lot more in common with each other. It is still a good idea to consult a trusted doctor if you are taking medications or have a condition.
Availability is another issue. With the pandemic still ongoing, the demand for vaccines worldwide is high. This definitely affects supply. Local Government Units are still the best way to get vaccinated. Some LGUs allow walk-ins, some do not. Register online and book a schedule to be sure. Some private companies have also ordered vaccines for their own employees. Check with your office if they have availed of vaccines.
Barring any medical condition, these vaccines are good for you. Sure, you may have a preferred brand. But given the option of waiting longer for its availability or getting what is available now? We recommend not waiting. Protection is still protection.
Life after getting vaccinated
After getting your first shot of the vaccine, you still do not have immunity. The same thing goes when you get your second shot. There are a few more days of waiting before your immunity kicks in. It is still recommended to follow established safety guidelines. Keep wearing masks, keep washing hands, keep your distance from others. Getting vaccinated is not an excuse to be careless.
The vaccine mostly mitigates the direst symptoms of COVID-19. You may not suffer life-threatening attacks of the virus, but you may still get it. It is just that, this time you may experience its mildest symptoms. You can also still be a carrier of the virus if ever you get exposed to it. And you can pass it on to someone else.
The point here is that until the majority of the population gets vaccinated, we still have to be careful. Normality will come once we achieved herd immunity. And there is no guarantee that the new normal will be the same as the old one.
Clearing misconceptions and misinformation
As mentioned earlier, some people and organizations are spreading misinformation and lies about COVID-19 vaccines. We will try to clear up the most common ones with this list:
- COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccines will not alter your DNA.
- COVID-19 vaccines will not affect your fertility.
- COVID-19 vaccines were not rushed in development.
When doing your own research online, stick to legitimate and scientific sources. Read and listen to what medical experts have to say. Their opinions weigh more than that of some guy spouting conspiracy theories on social media.
Why get vaccinated?
Our world is getting smaller everyday. We are more connected than ever and everyone is getting closer to each other because of technology. We mean this in both the literal and figurative sense. This closeness also brings new vulnerabilities, exposing us to new threats and illnesses. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is proof of this.
From the comfortable familiarity that our social bonds brought us, everyone is now isolated. We are cut off physically from friends and family. We are quarantined in our houses because of the lockdown. We can not touch. We can not smile. We can not even be literally close to anyone. And it has been more than a year.
Within this time frame, the world has changed and we can probably never go back to the old ways. Getting vaccinated is more than just a way to stay healthy. It is an act to retake whatever we can of the normalcy that we used to have. With the power of the internet, most especially fiber internet, we can still keep in touch, we can still somehow be close. But nothing will replace being in each other’s presence. This is why we have to get vaccinated.
Get vaccinated for yourself. Get vaccinated for your kids. Get vaccinated for your parents. For your family. For your friends. For your loved ones.