Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Rather the vaccine than COVID-19

Come for a jab

I received a text message on Monday from my General Practitioner’s surgery inviting me to book my first COVID-19 vaccination with a URL link to a website. I have been invited because I am in Phase 6 of the priority groups, all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality, else, I would have had to wait for my age group in Phase 8. [GOV.UK: Vaccine priority groups]

Whilst I might have had misgivings about being vaccinated, this is one area where I do not have enough knowledge or expertise to make quality decisions about my health and safety in the middle of a pandemic. Accepting that the timeframe of virus discovery to widespread vaccination has taken less than a year, we are in different times and we must account for advances in knowledge and knowhow in virology and immunology to expect that solutions might be acquired at unusual speed.

The safety in numbers

Besides, over 173 million vaccine doses have been given in at least 93 locations globally, the reports indicating the various vaccines are safe and where they have not been that efficacious, alternatives have been sought as improvements are being made to the vaccines to account for the variants and mutations. Humanity is equipped for this, our ingenuity in seeking solutions to problems should be commended. [FT.com: Covid-19 vaccine tracker]

We are still way off the billion-person mark and only 4 locations have exceeded the 50% of their population, we have ways to go. What I know is the older people who got vaccinated from December 2020 onwards seems to be doing fine. We know those with severe allergies will have to wait, and the South African variant does not respond to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that it was abandoned there.

Rather the vaccine than COVID

To an extent, I am trusting that necessity is the mother of invention as urgency is the driver of initiative. What no one can afford if they have never had COVID-19 is never to contract it. The experience from survivor stories indicates that the end of the obvious symptoms does not spell the end of the ordeal. The vaccine, apart from trigger an immune response also prevents the onset of debilitating disease and that is a good thing.

I do not know what vaccine will be on offer when I attend the vaccination centre next Wednesday evening. The first jab is not the protection until the second which will provide inoculation. Fundamentally, I am not against vaccination, I have had jabs from childhood and do take my annual flu jab in November apart from the pneumonia one every 3 years. The only jabs I cannot take are ones with live or attenuated viruses like the Yellow fever jab.

There is a new normal ahead of us and somehow, we might have to sacrifice some individual preferences and misgivings for the common good. I hope we are all persuaded of the common good.

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