When your body is exposed to a harmful foreign substance (an “antigen“) such as a toxin, bacteria, or virus, it triggers our immune system to produce antibodies (a complex protein molecule that can neutralize the antigen directly or indirectly by binding to it and enhancing its destruction by other cells in our immune system).
There are six groups of microorganisms: bacteria, virus, fungi, protozoa, algae and archaea.
A PATHOGEN is any microorganism that can cause disease.
there are four main types of vaccines
- Live attenuated vaccine contains a live version of the microorganism that has been weakened.
- Inactivated vaccines
- Toxoid vaccine mimics the toxins released by the microorganism (bacteria, virus, fungi, protozoa) that causes disease.
- Conjugate, recombinant, polysaccharide and subunit (which consist of the essential disease-causing antigens of the microorganism) vaccines.
Vaccines are designed to stimulate our immune system to mount a response that fights off the pathogen and hopefully prevent us from getting sick. Some vaccines do not prevent disease 100% because there are numerous strains of the microorganism causing the same set of symptoms. Mutation of the microorganism and our own history of exposure to the pathogen can also change the effectiveness of the vaccine.
making an effective vaccine is a complex process
The process of making a vaccine is complex and time consuming. Traditionally, it takes anywhere from six to fifteen years to create a new vaccine. You can not rush the process too much if you want to create a vaccine that will do more good than harm.
Despite being the best option for treatment of Covid-19, a faulty vaccine could end up doing more harm than good. Once you actually have a vaccine, there are still phases (I-IV) of trials that must be accomplished. So, is it faulty thinking to expect a vaccine for COVID-19 to be available to the public in less than two years? The possibility exists because of the research that was started when the first coronavirus outbreak happened in 2002-2003; however, knowing that several vital steps may have been bypassed to create this vaccine, ” Would you be comfortable receiving this vaccine?”
dEBATE CONTINUES: gET VACCINATED OR NOT
There is still much debate amongst the public and health care workers about vaccination. There is no doubt in my mind that some vaccination is needed, especially when the pathogen is virulent. However, the question continues to surface whether we may be hindering our own natural immune system with the overuse of vaccines.
Those that argue in favor of vaccination say that it is not just to prevent you from getting seriously ill, but also to prevent the spread of disease to those who are more vulnerable (elderly, young, and immunocompromised). However, vaccine hesitancy is real and we need to understand what may be motivating those who argue against vaccination. Needless to say, if a vaccine was safely created for Covid-19, I think many would be lining up to receive it.