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‘I had my COVID-19 vaccine’

‘I had my COVID-19 vaccine’

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I am so thankful to have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, I would like to express my gratitude to scientists, trial participants, pharmaceutical companies, and administration for making this happen. However, I would also like to express my sorrow for those who have lost loved ones and those suffering due to this pandemic, and hope that this pandemic will stop with this vaccine.

At first, I was unsure about the safety and efficiency of this vaccine as it was produced so fast. However, later I realized that this was due to “RNA vaccine technology.” I also realized the most important period of any vaccine — Phase III, wherein you check “safety and efficiency” — was no different in this vaccine than in others. This period is about two months after giving the vaccine, as most serious side effects happens during this time. This vaccine was found to be safe and effective.

Traditional vaccines, which uses viral protein or viruses that are killed or weakened, are produced outside the body, and then introduced. This new COVID-19 vaccine uses a “small genetic code” in RNA and lets our bodies produce important viral proteins to build immunity against them. While doing clinical trials, the pharmaceutical company also mass produced the vaccine simultaneously; that really shortened time.

I was also fearful that if I am already exposed to COVID-19 or have had COVID-19 virus that pre-existing antibodies would cause worse side effects from the vaccine. Fortunately, this did not happen with this virus in clinical trials so far.

When comparing COVID-19 to the flu, the flu has a short incubation period, which means once it enters your body, you begin showing symptoms in 24 to 72 hours. Despite having immunity from flu, the body does not have enough time to prevent mild illness but does prevent serious illness or death. In fact, 80% of flu-related deaths occur in unvaccinated people and 50% of them are otherwise normal healthy hosts. There have been no studies on children, pregnant women, or immunocompromised hosts, but since this vaccine is like the Hepatitis B vaccine, I think it will be safe and approved in the future.

I believe this vaccine with also help in variant strains as well. I would like to mention in this regard the variant Swine Flu 2009, which caused more serious illness in the young when compared to older, the older population had immune memory from 1957, despite this being a variant strain.

Since we do not know how long immunity lasts and if it will protect against asymptomatic symptoms/carriers, it is advised to continue to wear masks to prevent transmission to susceptible people.

Let us give our body memory to this deadly virus, take the vaccine, stop this pandemic, and return to normal life. I believe the benefit of this vaccine outweighs the risks, and at the end of this life that is what matters. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, we always calculate risk vs benefit, whether we are traveling, eating at restaurants, flying, etc. Nothing is 100% safe and never will be. Take your pick and use vaccines.

Bhagwan Bang M.D. is a pediatrician practicing in Opp.

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