Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

February 02, 2021

The year 2020 challenged us with the biggest pandemic the world has ever faced, the best of scientists and researchers joined hands in an effort to quickly produce a vaccine against COVID-19 virus. However, due to misinformation and rumours, many have fallen prey to this, and there still persists an air of confusion on whether or not these vaccines really work. We explain facts on how these vaccines work and help in Covid-19 prevention and infection control.

For us to understand the manner in which COVID-19 vaccines work, it would help us to first look at how our bodies fight off illnesses on their own. When germs, such as the COVID-19 virus, enter or invade our bodies, they first attack and then multiply. This invasion is also called an infection and is what causes the illness. Our immune system uses many tools to fight off the infection. Our blood contains white blood cells or immune cells, which fight off the infection. There are different types of white blood cells that fight the infection in different ways. Macrophages swallow or digest germs, B lymphocytes produce antibodies to the virus left behind by the macrophages. T lymphocytes which attack infected cells. Once the virus enters the body either as a vaccine or disease, the T cells keep the memory and the next time a virus enters, the antibodies are formed quickly to prevent disease

Although, the Covid-19 vaccination is highly effective, it is still recommended to keep following all safety protocols such as the use of face masks, sanitizers and maintaining social distancing. When vaccinated, our body starts prepping for building immunity to Covid-19. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infections.

The Covid-19 vaccine in India has undergone rigorous tests and clinical trials to ensure that they do not cause any harmful side effects to the human body. Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. In India, the government has planned to conduct the Covid-19 vaccination drive in phases, wherein the first priority is given to the frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, police personnel, and others involved in Covid-19 medical services/duties. After which, the vaccine will be given to the elderly and the ones with comorbidities, and only then will the vaccine be available for the rest of us – the common public. 

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