The vaccine to the rescue

EV Rapiti, Kenwyn

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate will depend on whether we are prepared to take the risk of dying from Covid-19 and whether we are prepared to allow the economy to be totally destroyed by remaining in a lockdown for the next few years.

So far more than 2.1 million people worldwide have died from the virus for which there is no cure. If the lungs are severely damaged, there is little hope of recovery.

Health-care systems all over the world are buckling under loads of severely ill Covid-patients taking up every available bed space.

People with other illnesses needing urgent medical or surgical attention are being neglected to make space for people with Covid infections. Neglecting the non-covid medical and surgical conditions is adding to the country’s financial burden.

Doctors, nurses and allied workers are the frontline soldiers in a war with inadequate weapons against an invisible but powerful enemy. They are bearing the brunt of this fight and ending up with severe depression, anxiety, burnout and insomnia. There are many of them who have died. They have also had to isolate themselves from their families to protect them from being infected.

The experts say this epidemic is going to persist for a good few years if not longer.

A vaccine is the only way out, to provide immunity for the entire world.

Instead of asking why we have vaccines so quickly, we should be grateful that scientists could rise to the challenge to produce them. The vaccines went through stringent testing before they were approved.

We are in desperate times, people are dying fast and we need to stop the tsunami of Covid deaths.

Every drug and vaccine has some risk, but the decision to use any drug or vaccine will depend on the risk/benefit ratio. If the benefits, overwhelming outdo the risks, then we should accept the drug or vaccine.

The risks of serious complications and death from Covid are far greater than those from the vaccine. This alone should be reason enough to take the vaccine.

The more companies that make the vaccine, the greater the chances of bringing the prices down to vaccinate the entire world.

It’s our only hope to contain this virus and return the world to some semblance of the pre-Covid-19 era.

It is a myth that the vaccine remains in your body. Once injected, the body produces antibodies and removes the vaccine. The body is now primed to tackle the coronavirus if it gets infected.

Two doses of the vaccine are given and the side effects are generally minor and include mild pain over the injection site, fever or myalgia. It does not cause Covid infection because the vaccine is not a live virus.

In all likelihood, we might need booster doses in the future or appropriate vaccines for changing strains. We would be better off being protected against this virus than to run the risk of dying from it and have it kill the world’s economy.

To avoid vaccination carries the risk of serious illness or death as well as further isolation and economic hardship, including mass starvation, poverty, unemployment and crime.

Prolonged isolation will have a serious impact on the mental well-being on citizens of the world. Many, including frontline health-care workers, will succumb to severe depression, anxiety, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and even suicide from treating patients who have no chance of survival.

The cost of vaccinating all who are eligible is a small price to pay to save the world and the world’s economy. South Africa will be paying about R80 a dose for the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine.

As this is a life-saving vaccine that can save humanity and our health-care workers, no one involved in the supply chain of the vaccine should be driven by the motive of profit. For once, the vaccine should be made freely available to every citizen in the world.

History will judge the capitalist profit-mongers, tenderpreneurs and corrupt government officials, very harshly, for exploiting the vulnerable citizens of the world who are desperate for some relief from this deadly virus.

I am not a virologist but a family doctor who is concerned about our future and his patients.

I hope I have put into perspective why we need to be vaccinated against Covid.