The researchers and scientists have finally given approval for the use of an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine, and we are optimistic to get the first person vaccinated in Canada next week. The U.K has already started inoculations and it is also expected to start in the U.S in the coming week. But, still, a large number of people all around the world are not well aware of the vaccine preparation, its functioning, and usage and these people have some fears, hesitations, and misconceptions, as the information is relayed in a scientific language that is not easily understood. This situation in third world countries is even worse.
It is very important to inform the masses about the details of this vaccine.
What is a vaccine, does it cure or prevent the disease?
How is it prepared in research laboratories, and approved by regulatory bodies?
Shall we get the vaccines easily available at a reasonable price for all in the world?
A vaccine is a product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity and resistance to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.
There are many types of vaccines, but the COVID-19 vaccines being currently prepared in China are Live-attenuated vaccines, which are developed by reducing the virulence of a pathogen, but still keeping it viable. The attenuation actually alters the infectious agent and alters it so that it becomes harmless or less virulent. The Pfizer vaccines have used a different material called ,messenger RNA our cells use to make various proteins . They create strong and long-lasting immunity. Just one or two doses of vaccines can give us lifetime protection against the disease it causes.
Health Canada monitors vaccines. The regulatory process involves, authorizing the use of a product in a clinical trial, reviewing research data and evidence to provide a product-market authorization, and assessing the effectiveness, safety, and quality of the product. The public trust in the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety is vital.
The Federal government has signed agreements with AstraZeneca, Medicago, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer, and Moderna to advance six COVID-19 vaccines candidates.
At the time, four Candidates are under review.
Once approved, the distribution, pricing, and storage of COVID -19 vaccines will require unparalleled expertise, as they need to be kept below -70C which means they can not be easily transported, stored, and used in countries with limited access to cold storage and refrigeration facilities.
The Canadian provinces have prepared priority lists, who will get the shot first. But we should also look beyond the borders by making plans for the supply of vaccines at a reasonable price to distant lands and poor nations with the goal of saving precious lives and stopping the spread. Third world countries can’t place orders for advance purchases and pricing is also very important for them.
South Asia has a dense population and we see thousands of COVId-19 cases in India and Pakistan every day and SOP’s are also not strictly followed which makes the spread of the disease easier.
The efforts should be focused on the availability of vaccines for all, as humanity is our community and we all human beings are connected through strong bonds of humanity. The new American administration and WHO can also play an important role in this regard.
The Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani governments should also make early arrangements for the import and delivery of vaccines to enable their citizens to get vaccinated at the earliest.