It has been more than a year since the outbreak of the disease that brought everything to a halt. Coronavirus has affected every sector and countries are still trying their possible best to manage the disease as some believe it could last longer than expected.
Researchers at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) suggest that COVID-19 would not end until 60% to 70% of the population is immune to the virus, which may take between 18 and 24 months. Many are still struggling to go back to their normal activities as the virus keeps spreading. Others have also developed home remedies they claim is the cure for the virus.
In Tanzania for example, the government insisted the country was safe and needed no vaccine. The British government has banned all travelers coming in from Tanzania. The president of Tanzania Mr. John Magufuli in June of 2020 said the country was Coronavirus-free
The Corona disease has been eliminated thanks to God,” Mr. Magufuli told worshippers in a church in the capital, Dodoma. He like many others is urging citizens to use herbal medicines and steam inhalation as treatment.
Four African countries namely Cape Verde, Rwanda, South Africa, and Tunisia have been allocated over 320 000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech. The World Health Organization has announced the shipments of about 90 million vaccines in Africa which is a UN-led COVAX initiative.
One million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been sent to South African. South Africa is one of the countries with an increasing number Covid 19 cases. The country has recorded over 1.47 million cases with over 46,180 death. There have been reports that the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine is offering minimal protection against the disease from the South Africa variant.
A new variant of the virus known as 501.V2 emerged in South Africa last year and contributed to the new increase in cases in other African countries according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Developing a vaccine traditionally takes from 5 to 10 years and it has just been a year since the outbreak. Most Africans are scared of their safety. Truth be told, some don’t even believe the Coronavirus is real even at this point.
Among some of the reasons why many are unwilling to take the vaccine is the belief that these vaccines are not safe because of how quick it was manufactured, others also say they could get the virus from taking the vaccine and could also make them infertile.
The Center for Diseases and Control and Prevention explained on their website the three main vaccines and how they fight the virus.
mRNA vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19 which gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future.
Protein subunit vaccines include harmless pieces (proteins) of the virus that cause COVID-19 instead of the entire germ. Once vaccinated, our immune system recognizes that the proteins don’t belong in the body and begins making T-lymphocytes and antibodies. If we are ever infected in the future, memory cells will recognize and fight the virus.
Vector vaccines contain a weakened version of a live virus—a different virus than the one that causes COVID-19—that has genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19 inserted in it (this is called a viral vector). Once the viral vector is inside our cells, the genetic material gives cells instructions to make a protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Using these instructions, our cells make copies of the protein. This prompts our bodies to build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus if we are infected in the future.
More vaccines are expected in a few weeks and testing and distribution will commence. The citizens have less to do with regards to how safe the vaccines are. The best they could do is to protect themselves. The government is responsible for the safety of its citizens especially when these vaccines are not locally manufactured but imported.
They have to be very certain before any step is taken.
Now the question for the day is, when these vaccines are ready for distribution, are the citizens willing to take these vaccines?
Benedicta Dorcas Tetteh
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