It’s been just over 9 months since the landmark moment which saw the first person in the UK receives vaccination against COVID-19. During a time of continuous lockdowns as we struggled through the second wave of infections, the vaccine was a beacon of hope for the return to normality that we all longed for. Since then millions of people have been vaccinated and although the picture is changing daily within the UK, as of the 5th September 2021, 65.1% of the population that are eligible are fully vaccinated and 72.4% have had their first dose.
A decision is expected in days from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on whether or not healthy 12–15-year-olds should also be vaccinated, in an effort to curb rising case numbers as children across the UK return to school. In addition, an announcement regarding the COVID-19 booster vaccination programme is imminent, which is expected to see people throughout the UK offering a third dose of the vaccine to strengthen our bodies immune response to the virus as we approach the winter months. It’s already been confirmed by the JCVI that those with severely weakened immune systems will receive a booster jag as soon as possible.
Here at Dr Andrews, we understand that as much as the COVID-19 vaccines have been around for some time now, and it’s hard to go more than a day without hearing the daily statistics on the news, you may still have some questions. In this blog, we will delve into the importance, benefits and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccines contain either a weakened or dead version of the virus or even a part of the virus, which cannot harm the recipient. Rather it stimulates our immune system to produce antibodies, just like it would if we were to be infected with the real virus. These antibodies then remain in our body so if we were to be infected with the virus in the future, it’ll trigger the immune response meaning our body is far better equipped to fight off the disease and we’re less likely to become seriously ill.
Any vaccine approved for use in the UK must be going through a robust testing process to make sure it meets the strictest standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MRHA). The 3 approved COVID-19 vaccines in the UK all went through extensive clinical trials and a rigorous testing process involving tens of thousands of volunteers.
The latest statistics show that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has 94.6% efficacy, which means that vaccinated people have 94.6% less chance of infection compared to those unvaccinated. For the Moderna vaccine, it’s 94.1%. For both vaccines, this level of protection is reached after two doses. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has 76% efficacy, rising to 82.4% after the second dose. Although this is lower than the other two vaccines, this is still considered highly protective and offers a much higher level of protection in comparison to most flu jabs.
All the evidence so far shows that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective and have allowed us to lift restrictions throughout the UK. whilst reducing the rate of hospitalisations and death from COVID-19. Although the vaccine cannot prevent you from getting the virus, researchers from ZOE and Kings College London have found that adults who have received a double vaccination are 47% less likely to get long COVID. Don’t let the side effects of the vaccine put you off, the benefits more than surpass any downsides. The most common side effects are headaches, feeling tired or having a sore arm at the injection site. It has been widely reported that some people have experienced more adverse side effects, such as those who developed blood clots following receipt of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. However, these cases are still very much the minority and The University of Oxford has recently found that although the COVID-19 vaccine can increase your risk of developing a blood clot, the risk is considerably higher if you become infected with COVID-19.
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine not only protects you but those around you, as many people have health conditions that mean they cannot be vaccinated, making those who are vulnerable even more so. The data regarding the effects the vaccine has on transmission is still unclear however, early signs are promising that it does reduce transmission in the community to a certain extent. Vaccines are also shown to have a greater effect when there’s a higher uptake, as stopping the virus from spreading, prevents any mutations which could be more resistant to the vaccines. Therefore, if you are offered the COVID-19 vaccine, we believe wholeheartedly that you should take it and after reading this blog, we hope you do too.
At Dr Andrews Online Pharmacy UK, we understand that even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 you may still have concerns and might be looking for a way to test yourself, so to make sure that you’re staying as safe as possible. With our Coronavirus Self-Test Kit, you can test yourself for coronavirus without the risk of infecting others by visiting a test site. If you have any questions in regards to our Test Kits or the vaccine, please contact our team who’d be more than happy to assist.