What is a Covid vaccination?

A vaccination is intended to provide immunity against Covid.

In general, vaccine contains weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism that triggers an immune response within the body. This weakened version will not cause the disease in the person receiving the vaccine, but it will prompt their immune system to respond.

Some vaccines require multiple doses, given weeks or months apart. This allows for the production of long-lived antibodies and the development of memory cells.
In this way, the body is trained to fight the specific disease-causing organism, building up memory against the pathogen so it can fight it in the future.

What is herd immunity?

When a lot of people in a community are vaccinated, the pathogen has a hard time circulating because most are immune.

So the more people vaccinated, the less likely those unable to be protected by vaccines are at risk.

No single vaccine provides 100% protection, and herd immunity does not provide full protection to those who cannot safely be vaccinated.

But with herd immunity, these people will have substantial protection. Vaccination not only protects yourself, but also those in the community who are unable to be vaccinated.

What steps are taken to ensure the Covid vaccines are safe?

They go through a rigorous, multistage testing process, including large trials that involve tens of thousands of people.

These trials, which include people at high risk for Covid, are designed to identify common side effects or other safety concerns.

Once a clinical trial shows a vaccine is safe and effective, a series of independent reviews of the efficacy and safety evidence is required, including regulatory review and approval in the country where the vaccine is manufactured, before the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers a vaccine product for prequalification.

An external panel of experts convened by WHO analyses the results from clinical trials, along with evidence on the disease, age groups affected, risk factors for disease, and other information.

Are vaccines necessary to prevent the spread of Covid?

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccination is the best defence against serious infection. Vaccines do not give you the virus, rather teach your immune system to recognise and fight the infection.

The Covid vaccine presents the body with instructions to build immunity and does not alter human cells. Vaccines have reduced the morbidity and mortality of many infectious diseases.

“70% adults vaccinated = 20 000 lives saved. 16 million more adults need to be vaccinated by the end of the year. If we achieve that, projections are that we will save at least 20000 lives.”