Everything You Need to Know About Covid-19 Before Vaccination | Myths Busted
COVID-19 or Coronavirus has changed our lives in a way that no one imagined. We are locked up for more than 1 and a half years in our houses. It is like a benison to some people who enjoy working from home. Also many got the blessing of spending time with their families for which they were craving for a long time.
But Covid hit many people as a storm as many people lost their jobs, many people who earn on daily basis faced difficulties of having food for every day and the most devastating events occur for those who lost their family members due to this disease.
What is COVID-19?
Covid-19 stands for coronavirus disease of 2019. It is an acute disease caused by the SARS-CoV2 ( Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2) virus. It is a positive- sense ss-RNA (single-stranded RNA) virus that seriously affects the respiratory system and causes flu-like symptoms. Diseases caused by SARS-CoV2 are transmissible which means they are transmitted from one organism to other.
WHO declared covid-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 but later, it was proclaimed as a Pandemic in March 2020.
At this moment, we are well aware of the signs and symptoms related to covid-19.
Most people are done with vaccination procedure, but many still are worried about tales linked to the covid-19 vaccine.
This article covers most of the information one should know about the Covid -19 vaccine.
Understand your Immune System:
To understand the facts related to the vaccine, you need to get conscious of your immune system first. I know you’ll have heard a lot about boosting your immunity in this lockdown but I bet barely a few people know the real meaning of immunity and about our immune system.
So I will start with that: The immune system is the natural defence of our body against various infections. Organs of your body associated with the immune system are Spleen, Lymph nodes, Leucocytes (WBCs), Lymphatic vessels, Peyer’s patches and Bone marrow.
The Human body has developed in such a way that immunity comes in two ways:
INNATE/NATURAL IMMUNITY: it is not specific to any prior disease and earlier exposure to pathogens is not essential. It is of two types:
- The first line of defence by skin, secretions from mucosal membranes like tears, sweat, saliva etc and microorganisms present in our gut etc…
- The second line of defence by inflammations, temperature etc...
ACQUIRED IMMUNITY: is the body’s response when encountered with a pathogen and develop antibodies and memory cells for that pathogen. It can be developed by providing vaccinations.
How does the vaccine work in our body?
Whenever we encounter a pathogenic disease for the first time, our body forms a novel antigen and our immune system takes time to respond and produce antibodies against that pathogen. At this time, the person is receptive to become sick. But after the first encounter, the body produces antigen-specific antibodies that grapple with that antigen and eradicate it. Also, memory cells of that antigen are formed along with antibodies that remain in the body even after the infection is over. These memory cells will react straight away when that pathogen enters our body again.
These memory cells are the basis on which vaccine works. Vaccines are nothing but dead or weakened parts of an antigen that aims to trigger the immune system and give rise to antibodies specific to that antigen. In recent years, vaccines are created with blueprints of antigens rather than the pathogen itself. To correctly get an idea of how a vaccine works, see this video :
Vaccines for COVID-19:
(1) COVISHIELD: It has been developed in the UK by AstraZeneca with Oxford University. In India, it is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune. Drug Controller General of India mandated it after successful trials on Indian populations in Brazil, South Africa and the UK.
It showed quite convincing results against the UK variant of Coronavirus.
Children, breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women are not eligible for this vaccine only because they were not a part of these trials.
The vaccine series includes two doses of injection. The gap b/w the two doses is 12- 14 weeks. A single dose of the vaccine is not much effective as it does not create enough antibodies to fight covid infection. So you must make up for the second dose.
Note: Before taking your first dose of the vaccine, make sure you don’t have a medical history of any illness such as asthma, diabetes, allergy etc… Also, make sure you are not taking any immune suppressants as they weaken the immune system. In such conditions, getting vaccinated can prove fatal to your health.
Reactions of covishield in the body involve Headache, fever, body pain, nausea, vomiting, chills, joint- pain, restlessness. All these reactions are mild and can abstain up to 2-3 days of injection. Some people also experienced pain, redness, heaviness, rashes at the point of injection. All these symptoms arise due to the high dose of the vaccine and there is nothing to worry about.
To get a little relief from the above-mentioned symptoms, paracetamol medicine is recommended.
However, if symptoms abstain for a longer period, consult a doctor.
How Covishield protects your body?
Covishield is administered with a weakened adenovirus (a non-replicating virus) ( observed in Chimpanzees) and a rhinovirus ( a common- cold virus) ( noticed in human beings) which will stimulate the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against covid-19 if you come across the virus. The virus is of a weakened type so it will not cause any harm to your body.
Getting vaccinated means your body is now able to fight the infection actively.
The efficiency of Covishield showed encouraging results up to 90% after the third trial.
(2) COVAXIN: It is a killed vaccine for covid-19. It is also known as BBV152. In the Killed vaccine, virus particles are present that are artificially grown in culture to knock down their disease-causing potential. The process of bringing out this vaccine is similar to the vaccine of Polio.
It is produced by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research( ICMR). It is also given in a phase of two doses. A gap of 28 to 42 days is recommended between the first and second dose.
Covaxin is likely more efficacious against the UK and Brazilian variants due to which it is more in demand and thus results in its shortage in India.
The efficiency has reduced from 80.5 % to 78% after its third trial.
Another reason for its preference is “ slighter side-effects”. Some of the side- effects include headache, irritability, mild fever and sometimes pain at the site of injection.
How Covaxin works in your body?
Covaxin consists of killed virus particles that make your body aware of the type of antigen entering and thus body’s immune response is triggered by producing antibodies against the antigen. After vaccination, if your body is exposed to the virus in any way, your body will recognise it and devastate it actively.
(3) SPUTNIK V: The “V” letter in the name denotes “ Victory over Covid-19” according to the CEO of RDIF. It is developed by the Gamaelaya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, headquartered in Moscow. It is approved in May 2021 in over 60 countries.
Side -effects of the Sputnik V vaccine involves pain and swelling at the injection spot, headache, flu-like symptoms, fatigue etc…
The efficiency of the Sputnik V is the highest with 91.6% and believed to be highly effective against the extremity of the virus.
How Sputnik V helps in improving immunity?
Sputnik V in the Russian Ministry of Health is registered as Gam-COVID-Vac because it is a two-vector (adenoviral) vaccine.
The components of both vectors are genetically modified to produce spike proteins that express the genes of SARS-COV-2. The first vector is Ad26, which is transferred with the first dose of the vaccine. The First dose help in stimulating the immune response.
The second vector is Ad5 which is administered with the second dose of the vaccine with a gap of 21 days b/w the both. The second dose helps to reinforce the immune response and to make sustained immunity in the body against the infection.
Note: Getting vaccinated only means that you're giving your immune system the power to fight infection more strongly. But it does not mean you are not prone to get the infection. This is the biggest misunderstanding people have today. You still require to take necessary precautions like wearing masks while going outside, keep a 6-feet distance from each other and so on.
Now, let’s jump to some Myths you must have heard and Facts related to the Covid-19 vaccine:
MYTH: YOU WILL GET INFECTED WITH COVID-19 AFTER VACCINATION
FACT: Covid-19 vaccine will not infect you with Covid-19 infection. As already discussed above, vaccines contain a weakened or dead particle of the virus, not the actual virus. It is just to produce antibodies in your body against that virus.
- MYTH: THE VACCINES ARE PRODUCED HASTILY AND ARE NOT SAFE
FACT: How fast a vaccine is developed does not compromise the effectiveness and safety of that vaccine. They are always developed by well-skilled scientists with proper scientific supervision and trials. So Don’t worry, the Covid-19 vaccine is safe.
- MYTH: COVID-19 VACCINES CHANGE YOUR GENETIC MAKEUP i.e YOUR DNA
FACT: Covid-19 vaccine only triggers and stimulates your immune response so that your body produces enough antibodies if you are anyway exposed to the virus. So they do not interfere with your genetic makeup and do not change your DNA.
- MYTH: COVID-19 VACCINES RESULTS IN MISCARRIAGE AND INFERTILITY IN WOMEN
FACT: There is no such evidence regarding any of these claims. Vaccines help in boosting up your immunity to fight better with the infection and no way they are concerned with miscarriage and infertility.
- MYTH: COVID-19 VACCINES HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE
FACT: Menstrual cycle is very often disturbed due to stress, imbalanced appetite, any disease or infection. Covid-19 has nothing to do with your menstrual cycle. It can be your stress because of this myth. Maybe.
Conclusion: There is a long list of such myths we heard every day about the covid-19 vaccine. But it's always good to know the fact behind that myth. Don’t fall for such myths and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Also, share this article with others to get aware of how vaccines work in our body.
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