Updated: Mar 13, 2022
What are Vaccines?
Vaccines are helpful substances that are prepared by injecting a part of the disease-causing virus/bacteria into an experimental animal [like a monkey, rat, guinea pigs, etc.,].
These substances which are thereby produced have the ability to mimic the original infective agent, called antigens, and produce immune response particles in our body. In the case of Covid-19 vaccines, the immune response particle mimics the spike protein present on the coronavirus, which is used by the virus to enter and duplicate in the human cell. These immune response particles are called antibodies.
At present, most of the vaccines produced in laboratories all over the world are made from-
Dead virus or bacteria
Part of virus or bacteria
The genetic material of virus or bacteria
Here is a short video that will explain how Covid-19 vaccines are made.
Depending on how the vaccines are produced, we have different categories of Covid-19 vaccines such as-
mRNA vaccine - for eg.,-Covisheild, Moderna
Viral vector vaccine-Johnson and -Johnson's Janssen
The Whole-Virion Inactivated- coronavirus vaccine-Covaxin
Image source-Bharat Biotech
I will explain how each of these vaccines works as we proceed ahead.
Should we take the Covid-19 vaccine?
In my last article on the Covid-19 pandemic, I had talked about different cases and how they survived. During that period, the world was on the lookout for a solution to arrest the progress of the pandemic. Now many countries have come out with vaccine/s.
So, yes, definitely we should get vaccinated. Why? You may ask. Because as yet, there are no proven drugs or medicines for the Coronavirus infection. Plus, vaccines are the safest and best way to prevent Covid-19 infection.
A few days back, I read in a newspaper that Covid-19 is akin to a serial killer. If it is not arrested, it can wipe out the whole of humanity. So, vaccines are the need of the day.
What's new in this article?
In this article, I am going to highlight vaccination programs in India (🇮🇳) in particular and the rest of the world (🌎) in general.
How do these Covid-19 vaccines work?
These vaccines produce, what we call in medical science, antibodies. These antibodies are specific for that particular virus or bacteria.
Here is detailed information on how these vaccines work-
What are the popular Covid-19 Vaccines available throughout the world?
Almost all the big countries in the world have jumped into the bandwagon for producing the Covid-19 vaccine. Now let us see what these countries have to offer for their people-
The United States of America[USA] Covid-19 vaccines-
The USA has produced these 3 Coronavirus vaccines-[ click the links provided to know the details about the respective vaccines]
The mRNA-1273 vaccine by Moderna TX.Inc.-
mRNA vaccines are the most popular of Covid-19 vaccines. This vaccine is administered in 2 intramuscular doses of 0.5ml each. Click this link to know the details of this vaccine.
BNT162b2 vaccine by Pfizer, Inc., and BioNTech- this vaccine is administered in 2 intramuscular doses of 0.5 ml each.
The JNJ-78436735 vaccine by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Companies of Johnson & Johnson. This is a single-dose vaccine. to know more about it, watch this video-
What are the Covid-19 vaccines produced in India-
Covishield-to know more about how this vaccine works, see this video on the Covishield vaccine
Covaxin- This vaccine is produced by using a dead virus-also called Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero cell vaccine. For more details, click on this link-Covaxin vaccine.
Sputnik V vaccine-This vaccine has been developed by Russia and has been introduced by Apollo Hospitals in India from the second week of June 2021. To know how this vaccine works, read this article on Sputnik V vaccines.
To know which vaccines are available in India and their details, click on this link- Covid-19 vaccine in India
FAQs about vaccines-
In my day-to-day practice, I come across many patients who desire to get vaccinated but are not sure of its effects or side effects. Here are a few common questions that my patients ask me along with answers-
Q1. I am under treatment for high B.P., diabetes, thyroid disease-can I get vaccinated?
Answer-Yes, you can. In fact, people with co-morbidities are more prone to covid-19 infection and they need protection against it. Covid-19 vaccines are the best alternatives for the prevention of Covid-19 infection.
Q2. I am allergic to some medicines like sulpha drugs, brufen, etc.,-can I take the vaccine?
Answer- Yes, you can. This is a rather tricky question. All the manufacturers of vaccines mention that those allergic to components of the Covid-19 vaccine should not have it.
Q3. What are the side effects of vaccines given by the Government of India?
Answer- a] Fever
c] Pain and swelling at the injection site.
Q4. I have recovered from a Covid-19 infection- do I need to take the vaccine?
Answer- This info will help you-
Click on the highlighted link to know more about vaccination programs in India.
Q 5. Booster dose-Do we need a booster vaccine for COVID-19?
Answer- It is not yet known if we really need a booster dose for Covid-19 infection, as this disease is quite recent and unlike any other viral disease. However, some experts are of the opinion that a booster dose will be required a year or two after the first 2 doses to keep your immunity intact. According to the latest news in the Times of India, the National Institute of Virology[NIV], Pune is of the opinion that you may need a booster dose.
Q 6. Will the vaccine have adverse effects on Sexual life and Fertility?
Answer- So far, there have been no reports of adverse effects of any vaccines given in the past, on the Sexual life or Fertility of those vaccinated for various diseases like measles, chickenpox, mumps, etc. Hopefully, the Covid-19 vaccines will also be safe as far as these two conditions are concerned.
The vaccination program for Covid-19 disease is still in its early stages. As we go ahead, I will be posting updates on Covid-19 vaccines so that you are aware of what's new in the world of vaccination.
Before I wind up for this article, here is the latest and interesting take that was posted by Dr. Mercola of Mercola.com, about how the Covid-19 vaccine originated in the first place- read here > the origin of the COVID-19 vaccine.
*What's new in the news of Covid-19 vaccines
The latest news is that Zydus Cadila of Gujarat India has managed to produce a DNA vaccine- ZyCov-D- that is different from all the other vaccines described above. This is the world's first DNA vaccine. It works in a totally different way.
Another thing is that you require to take 3 jabs at intervals of 28 and 56 days. To know more about this vaccine, click here-ZyCov-D.
If you have any queries or suggestions or any knowledge about the Covid-19 vaccines, do post it in the comments box at the end of this article.
I hope I have helped you with sufficient knowledge about Covid-19 vaccines.