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The benefits of vaccinating against COVID-19

Author: Andrew J Wood / Date: Mon, 03/08/2021 - 07:07
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) not only advises that vaccines save millions of lives each year, but they also reduce transmissions.

At the outset I believe it is important to state that COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection. If you get sick you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. Clinical trials of ALL vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be authorised or approved for use, including COVID-19 vaccines.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) not only advises that vaccines save millions of lives each year, but they also reduce transmissions. They and their partners are working together on tracking the pandemic, advising on critical interventions and distributing vital medical supplies to those in need, thereby reducing the number of infected people to transmit the virus. 

Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences — the immune system — to recognise and fight off the viruses they target. After vaccination, if the body is later exposed, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness.

WHO states on its website that, “Since February 2021, at least seven different vaccines have been rolled out. Vulnerable populations in all countries are the highest priority for vaccination.

“It is understandable that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated now that COVID-19 vaccines are available. While more COVID-19 vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorised or approved for use. Safety is a top priority, and there are many reasons to get vaccinated,” they stressed. 

One of the most frequent asked questions (FAQs) is can a COVID-19 vaccine make you sick with COVID-19? The simple answer is no, as none of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus. 

According to the USA’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) the benefits of getting a COVID-19 jab will help keep you from getting the virus. All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.

They add, “Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19 and may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk.“

The CDC reminds us that wearing masks and social distancing help reduce the chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if exposed.

Australia’s government says vaccination is the most effective way to protect against infectious diseases. Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to recognise and fight against specific viruses. They add that when you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and helping to protect the whole community by slowing down the spread of the disease. Achieving herd or social immunity is a long-term goal. It usually requires a large amount of the population to be vaccinated.

The CDC notes that people who have already had COVID-19 or tested positive may still benefit from getting the COVID-19 vaccination. There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it (natural immunity). Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

In Australia the government say that wearing  a mask and physical distance is still important, “It may take time for everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination to get one. A vaccine that is 95% effective means that about 1 out of 20 people who get it may not have protection from getting the illness,” they advise online. 

Some people never show symptoms so vaccinations are important. There is a common confusion between pre-symptomatic spread (people who spread the virus before showing symptoms) and asymptomatic spread (spreading the virus by someone who never shows any symptoms). The former is one of the hallmarks of the pandemic, the latter much less common. What is important to understand  is that everyone agrees vaccines reduce transmission. So why wouldn’t you take the vaccine that are tested to be safe and federally approved? I read comments like “it’s poison” and “does not work” on social media, but the science and three stage testing, prior to receiving government approval, dispel all that. 

An Israeli study found that from 100 vaccinated patients, those who received both doses of the vaccine did not become carriers of the virus and cannot spread it further.

Israel is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world and has compiled comprehensive data.

A new study has also found a reduction in transmission rates even after the first dose. Those who test positive for Covid-19 showed that twelve or more days after taking the first dose have a viral load that’s four times lower than those who have not been vaccinated. Those receiving the vaccine became far less of a COVID transmission risk even before receiving their second dose. 

Being less of a risk would allow more freedom to travel with significantly lower transmissions, especially when coupled with mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing. 

University Professor Cohen linked to the Israeli study and member of the official Health Ministry Advisory Committee on coronavirus vaccines, said: “This shows that indeed, besides reducing symptoms and hopefully mortality, the vaccine may facilitate reaching some kind of herd immunity, allowing the partial protection of the weak or non-immunised.”

The question to open borders to vaccinated visitors is now looking more and more likely as the risk to do so is manageable.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew J Wood

English born Andrew J Wood, is a freelance travel writer and for most of his career a professional hotelier. Andrew has over 35 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a Skal member and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is also a former member of the Executive Committe of Skal International (SI), National President SI THAILAND, Club President of SI BANGKOK and is currently SI Asia Area a.VP Southeast Asia (SEA), and Director of Public Relations Skal International BANGKOK. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University's Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.