There is significant concern over whether or not to get the Corona vaccine. Indeed, the virus is frightening but there is similar concern over the safety of the vaccine. Health care workers are expected to get a COVID-19 vaccine first. But the speed of vaccine development, and the politicization of the process, has left some doctors and nurses skeptical and reluctant. In fact, nearly 40% of healthcare workers say it's 'not likely' they will get a coronavirus vaccine because they are afraid the vaccine was developed too quickly to be safe.
We will attempt to provide you with the facts about the vaccine so you may make an educated decision yourself about receiving the injections.
The Best Defense
The best defense is your body’s natural defense mechanisms. Germs are all around us, both in our environment and in our bodies. When a person is susceptible and they encounter a harmful organism, it can lead to disease and death.
The body has many ways of defending itself against disease-causing organisms. Skin, mucus, and cilia, microscopic hairs that move debris away from the lungs, all work as physical barriers to prevent pathogens from entering the body in the first place.
When a pathogen does infect the body, our body’s defenses, called the immune system, are triggered and the pathogen is attacked and destroyed or overcome. Once the body produces antibodies in its primary response to an antigen, it also creates antibody-producing memory cells, which remain alive even after the pathogen is defeated by the antibodies. If the body is exposed to the same pathogen more than once, the antibody response is much faster and more effective than the first time around because the memory cells are at the ready to pump out antibodies against that antigen.
The basic problem with the Corona-19 virus is that it is new. That is why it was originally referred to as “the novel Corona virus”. Our immune system has no experience with this pathogen and therefore it becomes more complicated to fight.
Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism that triggers an immune response within the body. You are, in fact, getting injected with a small dose of the virus. This is why some people experience mild symptoms within days after injection. Newer vaccines contain the blueprint for producing antigens rather than the antigen itself. Regardless of whether the vaccine is made up of the antigen itself or the blueprint so that the body will produce the antigen, this weakened version will not cause the disease in the person receiving the vaccine, but it will prompt their immune system to respond much as it would have on its first reaction to the actual pathogen.
Some vaccines, like this one, require multiple doses, given weeks or months apart. This is sometimes needed to allow for the production of long-lived antibodies and development of memory cells. In this way, the body is trained to fight the specific disease-causing organism, building up memory of the pathogen to rapidly fight it if and when exposed in the future.
If you are wary about receiving the vaccine or are in a high-risk population for the vaccine, you can protect yourself by those around you. Just as herds do in nature. These people can still be protected if they live in and amongst others who are vaccinated. When a lot of people in a community are vaccinated the pathogen has a hard time circulating because most of the people it encounters are immune. So the more that others are vaccinated, the less likely people who are unable to be protected by vaccines are at risk of even being exposed to the harmful pathogens. This is called herd immunity. This is especially important for those people who not only can’t be vaccinated but may be more susceptible to the diseases we vaccinate against. No single vaccine provides 100% protection, and herd immunity does not provide full protection to those who cannot safely be vaccinated. But with herd immunity, these people will have substantial protection, thanks to those around them being vaccinated.
Your decision whether to vaccinate should be carefully considered. It is always a good idea to discuss your health decisions with your primary care physician and we encourage you to do so. Today we hoped to provide you with the facts as we have researched them to help you navigate this pandemic.
Stay safe everyone and make the absolute best of this holiday season.
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