What are the COVID-19 vaccines?

What are the COVID-19 vaccines?

COVID-19 vaccines are chemical substances (containing innocuous traces of COVID-19 virus) injected into the body that will soon trigger our immune system to develop a proper and specific response to the virus.

A proper and specific immune response is essential to ensure that each individual (when unintentionally contracted the virus) wouldn’t be able to transmit the disease to the next person. More importantly so, it dampens their risk of developing COVID-19 complications such as pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, septic shock and eventually death.

The vaccine works by either mimicking the viral identity of the COVID-19 or by using a dead virus that is harmless to our body. Onced inside the circulatory system, our adaptive immune system will deploy defensive cells called lymphocytes to specifically identify the foreign particles and soon figure out ways to exterminate it from our body.

Finally, our immune system remembers and stores those vital information via its memory cells, so that the next time a real COVID-19 virus enters the body, a well oriented and highly integrated defensive action will swiftly remove the pathogens before it can elicit any significant damage. This long term protection & insurance means we are thus considered immune to the COVID-19 virus.

Who is Manufacturing These Pharmaceutical Products?

As of today, there are numerous COVID-19 vaccine developers from all around the world. A few that will circulate in our country includes vaccines from Pfizer (USA & Germany), AstraZeneca (UK), Sinovac (China), CanSinoBIO (China), and Gamaleya (Russia).

Meanwhile, more than 200 additional vaccine candidates are currently in development, of which more than 60 are undergoing clinical development. Fascinatingly, the COVID-19 vaccine will (if not ongoingly) be developed by various notable technological platforms such as

  • mRNA & DNA platforms (i.e. Comirnaty, Moderna vaccine, etc.)
  • Inactivated vaccine (i.e. BBIBP CorV, CoronaVac, Covaxin, etc.)
  • Adenovirus vector (i.e. Covishield, Convidicea, Sputnik V, Janssen vaccine, etc.)
  • Subunit vaccine (i.e. Novavax vaccine, Merah Putih, etc.)

Where it has Been Supplied to?

According to the WHO, at least 7 different vaccines across three distinct platforms have been distributed in various countries across the world, since February 2021. Vulnerable populations in each country are considered the highest priority for vaccination.

Global initiatives such as COVAX, a collaborative effort between CEPI, Gavi and WHO aims to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic by

  • Accelerating the development of safe & effective COVID-19 vaccines
  • Support the effort of providing the necessary manufacturing capabilities; and
  • Mediating between governments and pharmaceutical institutions to ensure fair and equitable allocation across all countries worldwide.

Locally, as reported by the JKJAV, at least 409,784 individuals have received the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up until 12th April 2021. However, the current numbers exclusively meant to portray the proportion of vaccines administered to the majority of our frontliners. That being said, currently the highest number of vaccine doses administered by states would be Selangor, followed by Sabah, Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur respectively.

Besides that, in accordance with the National COVID-19 Immunization Programme, the supply of vaccine will be distributed in three different phases. Typically so, to compensate for the finite access & acquisition of vaccines from various manufacturers, whilst still prioritizing to accommodate the most vulnerable population. These three phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1: The frontliner (i.e. doctors, nurses, military, police, immigration and prison personnel, etc.)
  • Phase 2: The elderly, the disabled and those with comorbidity (i.e. hypertension, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases)
  • Phase 3: Adults aged 18 years old and above

Register yourself and visit the hospital if you are falling under the above categories, and get yourself vaccinated.