In a safer way, vaccines expose our body to pathogenic organisms in other to trigger an immune response and subsequent protection against such pathogen.
What is a vaccine?
A vaccine is a product or substance that when administered to an individual is capable of stimulating the production of Immunoglobulins called antibodies, thereby offering either a short or long term protection to the individual against a specific disease. Vaccines are administered through the process called vaccination.
How do we get these antibodies?
These antibodies are made by B cells of the Lymphocytes. The Lymphocyte is a white blood cell that produces 3 different types of cells; T cells, B cells and Natural killer cell (NKCs). B cells are produced and got matured in the bone marrow (Hence they are called “B” Cells), T cells are produced/formed in the bone marrow but migrate to Thymus for maturation (Hence they are called “T” Cells),
B cell is the one involved directly in synthesis and production of antibodies. When B cells are activated, they differentiate into effector/plasma B cells and memory B cells. Effector/plasma B cells secrete or produce antibodies which circulate in the blood to attack the offending microbe (Antigen).
Memory B cells as the name suggests work to keep the memory of that particular antigen (the microbe) in case such microbe is encountered again.
This is where vaccination is important because it helps our body to keep memory of such microbe. When we are infected with that particular microbe (Virus or bacteria) later, our memory B cell will act immediately to neutralize the infection through “humoral immunity”. This is called immunological memory system.
What are the contents of vaccines?
Vaccine may contain a dead or weakened version of the microbe, but vaccines may also be made from portions of the organism like a particular sequence (DNA, RNA or proteins) of the organism.
Understanding what vaccines are will help us to understand why the covid-19 vaccine is important for us.
COVID -19 Vaccines
Hundreds of Covid-19 vaccines are in development, with just few of them giving promising positive results so far. Pfizer vaccine has been cleared as an emergency and is in circulation now.
COVID -19 Vaccine (A Killer or a Saver)
As a toddler, you must have must have received multiples of vaccines. Such vaccines for Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), chickenpox (Varicella). Other vaccines for Polio, Hepatitis and yellow fever (mainly for travelers) are also available.
Most of these vaccines are given in doses and some require booster shots after some years.
As Africans, we have received these vaccines without asking the question “What do they actually contain?” In reference to covid-19 vaccine, all vaccines are supposedly tested before administration.
If the covid-19 vaccine is made to kill Africans, what do we say of other numerous vaccines we have received at early age and as adults?
The conspiracies surrounding the covid-19 vaccine is huge, and that saw many countries of which most are from Africa believing that the vaccine is demonic meant to depopulate Africa.
The consequences of not receiving the vaccine might lead to genetic recombination (mutation) of the coronavirus.
One of the major difficulties the vaccine will suffer is the ability of the virus to mutate. Mutation is a permanent alteration in the nucleotide sequence or genetic material often referred as “genome” of any organism.
Though the new coronavirus mutation is relatively slow, there are confirmed reports across the world of new strains of covid-19, this should worry everybody.
CNN reported that new Coronavirus strain in UK could impact vaccines. Scientists in Nigeria have also reported that they are sequencing a newly discovered strain of the virus .
One of the best ways for viruses to escape antibody protection is by mutation. This mutation will render the vaccines useless and ineffective thereby leaving our bodies powerless against the virus.
Covid-19 vaccine is meant to save us and not to kill us. As most of the vaccines are tested before their administrations so it is with the covid-19 vaccine.