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Let’s take a vaccine reality check

It’s been almost two months since the first batch of donated vaccines arrived on our shores.

Where are we now in the country’s vaccine program?

On social media, we have seen a number of posts showing people’s first jabs, the second dose to come sometime in May. They appear to be glad about and proud to be having it — eager, they say, to get back to a semblance of “the way it used to be.”

They are part of the 1,264,811 people who received their first dose as of 17 April 2021. Our World data also shows that 191,982 have gotten fully vaccinated as of the same date.

We have a long way to go.

Government had prioritized healthcare workers and frontliners, while local government units had rolled out their own plans to inoculate as many people as fast as possible.

Gone, as well, is the vaccine hesitation, as more people are banking on that rationale that vaccination is the best way out of the endless quarantines.

Also out of the picture, it seems, is that argument on vaccine efficacy based on brand or maker. After all, a vaccine is a vaccine is a vaccine.

Or is it?

Each pharmaceutical company has had its history of vaccine manufacture, some none at all. Covid-19, for all of them, is as novel as it can get — scientists had to work on getting a solution to kill the virus or prevent it from infecting people, in record time.

More important, governments around the world are convinced vaccination is the answer, in spite of contrarians putting out arguable opinions out there.

Among the scariest is one that came out in a YouTube channel last March of this year. It was called “A coming Covid catastrophe,” based entirely on the warnings from international vaccine specialist Geert Vanden Bossche, who, the show said, risked “his reputation and his career by bravely speaking out against administration of Covid-19 vaccines.” Added the host, “In what may be one of the most important stories ever covered by The Highwire, the vaccine developer shared his extreme concerns about these vaccines in particular and why we may be on track to creating a global immunity catastrophe.”

A catastrophe! He warns that the Covid-19 vaccines available now are still imperfect and would only “allow germs to mutate in dangerous ways.”

As they say, though, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion.

That is what one gets from an article on McGill’s Office for Science and Society, which claims to promote critical thinking and tackle fake news in the world of science.

It disputes Bossche’s assertion, saying, “…data from the vaccine clinical trials and from countries that have vaccinated a large percentage of their population show a significant reduction in cases and mortality. The vaccines are working.”

Their arguments could sway one either way, but an important takeaway from these opposing views is this: mass vaccination does help lessen the rate of transmission, but vaccines per se are not the only weapons we need to fight Covid-19 and its new variants.

Having a strong immunity, whether innate or acquired, is still the best defense — and we can have that by eating right, hydrating properly, getting enough sleep, some sun, exercise and maybe the help of those natural supplements we have had all along — virgin coconut oil, ginger, garlic, turmeric, honey, lemon, basil and even cumin, it is said.

What is also unarguable is that getting vaccinated does not mean you become invincible from Covid-19.

Far from it.

The Centers for Disease Control states it is still possible for one to contract the Covid-19 between doses.

“Yes — and this is why it is important to continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands,” it said.

“The first dose will not provide complete protection, and it will take about seven days after your second dose before you will achieve a full protective level of immunity that develops in about 95 percent of vaccine recipients. If you are exposed to SARS-CoV-2 before this time, it is possible that you could develop Covid-19.”

What do these all mean?

Whether one is vaccinated or not, health protocols will remain in force until that much-awaited herd immunity is achieved — in 2023.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph


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