You may have a lot of questions or even apprehensions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the country. Likewise, you might be wondering whether the COVID vaccines are safe and effective knowing that they were produced in less than a year. If you are fond of vaccine history, then you might compare it to that of the fastest vaccine developed, which was the mumps vaccine. However, it still took 4 years for the mumps vaccine to be developed contrary to the COVID-19 vaccine’s less-than-a-year development. Consequently, this perception may lead you or most people to vaccine hesitancy. However, you should realize that the COVID-19 vaccines are not made in haste because they have undergone rigorous research and clinical trials. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an EUA status to the COVID-19 vaccines.
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6. COVID-19 Vaccine: Resetting the World with One Jab – YOU ARE HERE
The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) has spurred a global cooperation towards having a global COVID-19 vaccine rollout; subsequently, aiming to achieve a herd immunity. Moreover, EUA status demonstrates that the potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh the potential harms of COVID-19 infection. In addition, the World Health Organization is targeting to achieve a global COVID-19 vaccine rollout amounting to 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Above all, COVID-19 vaccines are held to the same safety standards as all vaccines.
FDA carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials while the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) and the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) reviews and recommends the use of vaccines once proven safe
On the other hand, the FDA and DOH closely monitor vaccine safety and side effects. In addition, there are systems in place that allow monitoring for safety issues.
The Impact of Vaccines in the World
Did you know that 95% of the global health today has been credited to vaccination?
Prior to vaccines, most people die at the age of 45. Hence, the life expectancy of the people was shorter during the 17th and 18th century due to the lack of vaccine creations. Today, people are reaching the age of 90 or even a 100. It is all because everyone has been vaccinated before birth.
“With vaccination, we are now able to extend life expectancy. Furthermore, we are now able to reduce complications of diseases. Why should you be afraid of vaccination since it has worked for over 220 years!”Prof. Emeritus Lulu C. Bravo, MD
In addition, the President of the Immunization Partners in Asia Pacific Professor Emeritus Lulu C. Bravo, M.D. argues that vaccination has served to a greater degree. It has indeed saved 3 million lives from severe infectious diseases worldwide since 1798.
Currently, there are already vaccines created to protect us from more than 26 diseases together with the recent which is the COVID-19 vaccine. To name a few, the viral infections with successful vaccine creations are poliomyelitis, influenza, mumps, hepatitis e, shingles, measles, tetanus, and tuberculosis.
The Tale of Shark Infestation by WHO
The World Health Organization has illustrated the importance of a herd immunity through a shark tale.
Is a COVID-19 Vaccine right for you?
When you are in the middle of a global pandemic, you need to have a safe way to build protection; that is, getting your first COVID-19 jab. COVID-19 Vaccines will naturally give protection by building immunity without the risk of severe illness and death. The vaccines are there to simulate a natural infection by introducing safe amounts of antigen to the body. Subsequently, it will create a natural response by developing antibodies for future infections. It is through Hence, the benefits of having natural immunity far outweighs any risks and/or fatalities. This is proven for over 220 years of vaccination.
“Vaccines work and they are proven safe and effective.”Prof. Emeritus Lulu C. Bravo, MD
Nonetheless, you should be reminded that there are no further studies yet whether COVID-19 vaccines can limit the virus transmission while the length of protection from the virus is still under study.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in the Philippines
“Even a 50% efficacy of a vaccine will be important because the more people get vaccinated, then you get more protection. You can get a vaccine that is 95% efficacious, but if you only give it to 1% of the population, then it is nothing compared to a 50% efficacious vaccine that you gave to the 50% of your population.”Prof. Emeritus Lulu C. Bravo, MD
Therefore, do not focus on the efficacy rate rather look at how the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be done in the Philippines.
COVID-19 Vaccine Types
You may have known about the brand names and the efficacy rate of the COVID-19 vaccines, but how well did you know how it was made and how it works?
There are four common types of vaccines which are the Viral Vector, RNA (Nucleic Acid), Whole Virus, and the Protein Subunit. First, the viral vector vaccines use a harmless virus which is altered to contain part of COVID-19’s genetic code while the RNA contains a synthetic version of a part of COVID-19’s genetic code (messenger RNA). Both the viral vector and the RNA send a code to the human cells to make the COVID-19 spike protein which triggers an immune response.
On the other hand, the whole virus contains a weakened or inactivated version of the COVID-19 virus while the protein subunit uses pieces of the COVID-19 virus or fragments of the spike protein. Both are also triggering an immune response.
COVID-19 Vaccine Safety and Efficacy
On the other hand, you should realize that no vaccine is 100% safe and 100% effective. Similarly, no drug/medicine has been proven 100% effective.
When we dissect the word safe, it does not necessarily mean that you are fully protected from any disease. It is because safe can also mean being preserved from a real danger. Thus, vaccines are safe because the danger (the disease) they prevent far outweighs the danger (side effects) they represent. For this reason, you need to add further actions in order to have more protection such as the wearing your face masks and shields and observing social distancing.
What to do before, during, and after vaccination?
First, you need to learn about COVID-19 vaccines only from reliable resources such as in the Department of Health, Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, and World Health Organization. Do not trust your social media too much! Becoming COVID-19 Vaccine literate is a step towards having a healthier community.
Once you have thoroughly read about COVID-19 vaccines, then see if vaccination is recommended for you. You need to remember to have your vaccination only at the registered vaccination sites with well-trained health professionals. Therefore, you should avoid self-vaccination at all cost.
In the vaccination site, you will receive your vaccination card that will serve as your official record of the doses that you will receive. Moreover, you will be screened in terms of your health if you have the ideal condition to receive vaccination.
Finally, you need to observe yourself after getting vaccinated because you will naturally feel the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you have observed that you are not experiencing any post-vaccination effects, then do not fret! The vaccine is still working despite the absence of such mild or severe effects. You need to realize that there our bodies react differently from one another.
In the event that you have experienced an adverse effect, you do not need to worry because there have been no recorded deaths due to the COVID-19 vaccine. However, if you have a side effect beyond the common ones, then you may need to contact your respective vaccination site for a check-up.
Above all, the Department of Health assures that only 1.44% of the vaccinated population have reported untoward reactions which are mostly mild. Likewise, they can be resolved spontaneously and do not need hospitalization.
In the Philippines, there are priority groups categorized upon receiving COVID-19 vaccination. These priority categorizations will create an equitable access to the vaccines for all.
There are three clusters which are the Group A, B, and C. The Group A has 5 sub-categories which are the A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5 while the Group B has 6 sub-categories which are the B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, and B6. Finally, the Group C consists of all the Filipino population not included in Groups A and B.
Below is the comprehensive list of the priority groups:
A1: Frontline workers in health facilities both national and local, private and public, professional and non-professionals such as the students, janitors, nursing aides, barangay health workers, and the like.
A2: Senior Citizens aged 60 years old and above
A3: Persons with comorbidities
A4: Frontline personnel in essential sectors
A5: Indigent population
B1: Teachers and Social Workers
B2: Other government workers
B3: Other essential workers
B4: Other demographic groups at significantly higher risk than senior citizens and indigenous people
B5: Overseas Filipino Workers
B6: Other remaining workers
Despite the priority categorization, it is not guaranteed that everyone will get vaccinated because it will depend on the health status of the recipient. There are several factors considered and each factor has a corresponding vaccine decision. Refer to the list below for reference:
Do not vaccinate: those below 18 years old, allergic to PEG/Polysorbate, Severe allergic reaction after 1st dose
Deferral: symptomatic, COVID-19 exposure, COVID-19 positive in the last 90 days/ persons with convalescent plasma or MACs, HCW pregnant in first trimester, received any vaccine in 2 weeks
Needs Clearance: autoimmune disease, HIV diagnosis, cancer/malignancy, transplant patient, under steroid treatment, bed ridden, terminal illness, less than 6 months prognosis
Special Precaution: Allergy to food, medicine, asthma, history of bleeding/anticoagulants
The Jab that Resets the World
Are you still hesitant to get your COVID-19 vaccine?
You need to realize that doing nothing is already taking a big risk compared to having your COVID-19 vaccine at hand. Therefore, you need to do your part towards achieving herd immunity. Wouldn’t you want to go back to the normal life and celebrate the upcoming Christmas with masks and shields free?
In fact, it will be easier if your community will be vaccinated. Imagine living in a healthier community such as Camella Manors because everyone has done their part on this pandemic. It will be fulfilling to embrace the outside world free from worries. You will then appreciate the resort-themed amenities and manicured landscapes even more.
What are you waiting for?
It only takes one jab to reset the world. Check the nearest COVID-19 vaccination site here.