WHY GET THE COVID VACCINE.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal way of life. It has changed how you socialize and continuously bears a heavy load to the healthcare systems across the world. The effects have worsened with new variants that are more deadly and spread faster. With no end in sight, many countries have come up strategies to reduce the spread of the virus. This has included; lockdowns, travel restrictions, curfews, closing of schools among other steps. To date there is no definite cure for the virus and the closest is vaccination. According to World Health Organization (WHO) by February 2021, seven vaccines had been rolled out in different countries.

All the vaccines have been developed by first world countries and distribution has been robust in these countries. Developing countries have relied on the WHO pacts with different countries to get doses. The developing countries have used their ties with the first world countries to have agreements to have the vaccine.

Whereas all these happen, uptake of the vaccine has not been great as expected. This is because of various reasons; lack of knowledge, misinformation, conspiracy theories, market wars, myths. This has affected all including health caregivers, world leaders and religious leaders. Vaccine uptake conspiracy is not new to the COVID-19 jab, during the rollout of polio vaccine it was the same.  With more information and time the uptake grew and many countries have eradicated Polio.

How do vaccines work? Vaccines stimulate your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly what happens if you were to be exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first. So the vaccine may not naturally prevent you from getting the disease but in the event you get it the symptoms are not severe. The antibodies are supposed to help your body fight off the disease. So having the vaccine makes your body well-prepared to prevent it from the disease and if it does get you then reduce the disease effects.

Another important information is about the side effects of the vaccine. Many people suffer side effects after receiving the vaccine. The side effects mimic the symptoms of the disease, they include fever, body weakness, sore throat, headache among others. This should not be a reason to stop you from getting the jab when you get an opportunity. These symptoms are short-lived taking about 48 hours and can be managed by simple prescriptions of antipyretic and pain medication. Formation of blood clots after the vaccine has been a major worry for many. The latest available data shows out of the 30 patients who developed blood clots after the vaccination 8 died. This is from the over 20 million doses administer worldwide. The data so far do not show if there is a direct correlation between the clot and vaccine, more studies on whether there is a correlation are ongoing.

The vaccines are safe for everyone except pregnant women, lactating mother up to 6 weeks, anyone actively sick during the time of vaccination. There is data showing that the above groups are not at any risk from the vaccine. The tests for vaccine did not include this groups thus no known effects of the group. You can consult with your healthcare provider if you are in the groups above before taking the vaccine. Lastly ensure you get a vaccine that has been approved by WHO.

Your best protection against the COVID-19 is to follow the protocols given. Handwashing with water and soap in every opportunity, maintain cough etiquette, keep social distance and have a mask worn properly in public spaces. These are compounded by getting a vaccine when your turn comes. Do not fear the vaccine, if you get the opportunity, get vaccinated.

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