Covid-19 Vaccine: Everything you want to know

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A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity against a pathogenic organism which causes an infectious disease. It usually contains a biological preparation that is produced from weakened or killed forms of the pathogenic organism, its toxins, or one of its parts (surface proteins). This stimulates the body's immune system to producing antibodies against it like in case of infections.  These antibodies recognize and destroy the microbial agent that it may encounter in the future. Thus a vaccine prepares your immune system to fight off germs if you come into contact with them in the future.

The concept of vaccination is not new and smallpox and polio are examples of diseases that could be eradicated because of effective vaccines. There are many other infectious diseases that have been brought under control because of effective vaccines. Most vaccines are given as injections (single or multiple) although some can be given orally like the polio vaccine and the typhoid vaccine. Vaccination is one of the prime reasons of reduction in mortality rate of infants and children. At the same time it is not a child’s play to develop a vaccine. Each vaccine is tested in thousands of healthy volunteers and the data analysed and reviewed by experts before it is approved and ready for clinical use. The average time to develop a vaccine against infectious diseases is about 10.7 years. However we still do not have effective vaccines against HIV and Hepatitis C despite several years of research and efforts. Considering that the development of a vaccine against covid-19 took less than a year, it is nothing short of a scientific miracle.

The Indian government needs to be commended for rising to the occasion. It ensured timely availability of the vaccine and also provided the necessary regulatory approvals. Most important it has set up vaccine delivery network to deliver and monitor the safe delivery of these vaccines.  As a result several lakhs of health workers have already been vaccinated.

Despite the availability of vaccines, vaccine hesitancy remains a prime issue. There has been a lot of apprehension not only in the minds of the general public but also amongst the health workers. This has further been complicated by reports in social media and lay press over possible vaccine related complications. All this has resulted in a low acceptance rate despite the commendable efforts done by the Indian Government in providing these vaccines at their doorstep and that too free of cost .To allay this fear and educate the public we discuss various issues related to Covid-19 Vaccine: