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Vaccination: The Truth and Myths

We have all had our set of shots during infancy and childhood and despite the fear of that sharp needle, it felt like we had gained a superpower to fight off the deadliest diseases in the world. Vaccines have been one of the world’s biggest achievements till date and have prevented the death of millions from many deadly diseases like smallpox, polio or even TB (tuberculosis). But in many cases, they have also faltered and have been unable to complete their job.

Even though children have been vaccinated to prevent themselves from getting diseases like malaria, cholera, dengue etc they have still succumbed to these diseases due to the failure of the vaccines. Recently, there have also been rumours floating about a new disease which is even deadlier than the coronavirus which could hit us any time and the world will not be prepared for it.

The task of manufacturing and distributing a vaccine is not an easy process. Along with being time-consuming and expensive, it could be a huge loss if not proven effective. So, how does a vaccine work against these viruses? Well, it is the mechanism and working of the vaccine has definitely got our attention.

Vaccines contain the targeted virus in its weakened or dead form, or proteins from the virus, which after inserting into the body, will eventually stimulate our body into producing the antibodies required, hence making us immune from the respective disease.

There are various side effects that some people may experience after a vaccination which usually include mild fevers, headaches, pain and swelling, muscular pain, fatigue and nausea. They generally go away within a day or two and are not long-lasting. These side effects indicate that the body has started building up immunity against the virus. The problem is many people have the wrong impression that side effects caused by a vaccine can cause further illnesses. This stops them from getting vaccinated which can result in long term health issues.

10 out of 100 people will face mild side effects which disappear with a few hours after being vaccinated and these symptoms are a positive sign indicating that the body is becoming immune to the virus.

People who are against vaccinations believe that it can be the reason behind neurological disorders. When asked, many stated several reasons like conspiracy theories. While most were rumours, some statements are true and such practices are still relevant till date.

Most of the times a sanitary or religious objection have been the reason behind people opposing vaccinations. Many believe that better hygiene and sanitation can help prevent diseases and there would be no need for vaccinations which is not true. A huge percent of the population still fears vaccines as that they are completely unaware of what’s being injected into their bodies and whether it will do its job or not.

Many believe that if the disease is eradicated than a vaccine would not be needed anymore, which is a false theory as a disease will only be prevented if the vaccination continues. When smallpox vaccines were doing the rounds, rumours spread over the world that syringes were being used more than once which could be the reason for the spread of deadly diseases like HIV and can lead to infections which would eventually cause death.

Such conspiracy theories can fog peoples’ minds and create unwanted holes in society’s wellbeing. Currently, many people have opposed the vaccine against coronavirus and won’t be getting themselves vaccinated. Many countries like the USA have not made it obligatory for every citizen to get themselves vaccinated. Can this become a black hole in our fight against Coronavirus?

Soon, the world will be vaccinated against the coronavirus which has been looming across the world for almost a year and with the advancement in technology, we were able to revive ourselves even though there were many barriers. In the current scenario, we have innumerable vaccines available which have been made by various companies. The question remains whether the vaccination means a covid free world or is this the beginning of an era filled with pandemics?

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Covid-19 Vaccine is likely to be supplied to Centre at Rs. 250 by the Serum Institute of India

In a much-awaited move, the Serum Institute of India closes in on signing a supply contract for a covid-19 vaccine with the country’s central government. As per reports by the Business Standard, on the 8th of December, the institute, the world’s largest vaccine producer by volume, is likely to fix the vaccine’s price at 250 rupees (per dose).

On the 7th of December, the institute lodged the first formal application for emergency-use approval of AstraZeneca’s shot. With this, the government sees a mass supply by the institute. The vaccine was earlier quoted to be priced at 1,000 rupees per dose in India in the private markets. However, the deals signed with larger supplies by the government make the vaccine available at a lower cost. This development comes as India is accelerating its review of vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca to authorize for emergency use, as quoted by a senior official.

The Chief Executive Officer, Adar Poonawalla, said the institute’s priority would be to supply the vaccine to Indians, then distribute it to other countries. This step is much needed as India is the second most affected country in the world by Covid-19, after the United States, and currently records more than 9.7 million cases.

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Dr.Reddy’s tie up with RDIF for Sputnik V

Russia’s Sputnik might just turn out to be India’s saviour from Covid-19. Dr.Reddy’s labs based in Hyderabad announced the Sputnik V vaccination human trials in India by signing an agreement with RDIF. Russia states that the two human adenovirus vectors rAd5  and rAd26 are the inactivated components of the two-dose human vaccine, this is the two step solution to activate T-cells within the immune system which will countervail the affected cells. The use of two vectors makes the vaccine stand out in comparison to other adenovirus-based approaches. But this comes with its own set of challenges as a stronger response to it may cause severe side effects and pre-existing immunity within the human body can alter the response of the vaccine. Reports state that even before conducting Phase 1 and 2 trials in Russia the vaccine has been approved by Russia’s health agency which can become a hazard in the process. Yet, Dr.Reddy’s laboratories have not given out any official notice from their side on the vaccine trial process in India.