It’s not over yet

Quite a busy one this past week has been for our health and frontline workers, who have been tirelessly administering the Covid-19 jabs to more than 430,000 recipients in the country through 1,217 vaccination sites across the country.

Since the nationwide vaccination rollout for Covid-19 in the country began on March 27, a total of more than 430,000 people has been vaccinated until now from the 536,000 who are eligible for Covid-19 vaccination.

While no life-threatening conditions arising from the vaccination have been reported, some have reported experiencing conditions like fever, body ache and nausea for a day or two. However, health experts reasoned that such conditions which appear after six or eight hours of the injection are normal and it’s the body’s way of producing immune response.

Now that the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has been received by a majority of our population, it doesn’t mean that we can immediately return to normal. Receiving the first dose of the vaccine doesn’t mean that our fight against the Covid-19 is over and that we have triumphed over it.

The reason is that the vaccines that we have right now, according to international health experts, are all two-dose vaccines. A good immune response kicks in within about two weeks of the first dose, but it’s the second dose that then boosts that immune response and we see immunity get even stronger after that second dose, again within a shorter period of time after the second dose.

The other complication with the vaccine is that health experts don’t know yet how long immunity lasts from the vaccines that we have at hand right now. Even the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has presently no answers to outstanding questions on the duration of the vaccines’ protection and the effect of emerging variants.

The other complication that could arise is from certain age groups and people such as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers (almost around 15 to 20% of the population who will not be vaccinated). For instance, only 18 years and above have been made eligible for this vaccination campaign. Adolescents not in these age groups are, therefore, going to continue to be at risk of both the disease and infection, at least for the time being and can even transmit the disease to other people.

Amid the dilemma and doubts over the vaccines and what they really can do, every individual, even those who are vaccinated, is advised to continue with all mitigation strategies. It is recommended that mask wearing, social distancing and avoiding crowded, indoor gatherings should be standard practice in public spaces.

So, we really need to continue with the precautions until we are sure that we have crushed the virus or its transmission. Even before the vaccines’ arrival, we must not forget that if we were successful in containing the Covid-19 and its impacts for almost a little more than a year, it was because of these precautions we took seriously. The fight is not over yet.