The World Health Organization (WHO) says immunization prevents 2 to 3 million deaths annually. This includes the prevention of death from diseases like tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, and influenza. In fact, there are now vaccines to prevent over 20 life-threatening diseases. With over 1.5 million deaths from the new virus, the announcement of a COVID-19 vaccine was a huge relief.
Vaccines work by training the body’s natural defenses to recognize and fight target bacteria or viruses. Out of over a hundred COVID-19 vaccine candidates, a few have been approved for use in different countries. Through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT-Accelerator), the WHO wants to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe.
"Vaccines do not equal zero COVID."
WHO warns against pandemic complacency amid COVID-19 vaccine rollout. pic.twitter.com/VCBpdz9FwN
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) December 6, 2020
Countries with COVID-19 vaccine approval
Some countries appear to be in the lead in COVID-19 vaccination while others are playing catch-up. Richer nations have already bought large doses of the vaccine while poorer nations have to wait longer.
Is getting "natural immunity" from Covid-19 better than from a vaccine? The resounding answer from experts: no.
In fact, those who have recovered from the coronavirus should still get vaccinated. https://t.co/8FR1bYjaE8
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 5, 2020
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has become one of the lead countries to approve the use of the COVID-19 vaccine. The distribution of the vaccine is expected to begin on Tuesday 8th December 2020. They hope that the vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer (with 95% effectiveness) will help them defeat the virus. The vaccine must be kept at -100 degrees Fahrenheit during transport and storage. For full protection, people need 2 shots. The second comes three weeks after the first.
Also, Russia is beginning a COVID-19 vaccination program. In Moscow, the shots will be given to those most at risk of severe illness from the virus. Unlike the UK, Moscow is using the vaccine from Sputnik V which also has 95% effectiveness. There are already thousands of people in the queue to receive the first of two jabs. In Russia, the priority will be on social workers, health service providers, and school workers.
The United States of America
Sadly, the United States is experiencing a second wave of the virus. The country has the highest number of cases and deaths in the world. However, the US is already working towards rolling out COVID-19 vaccines. On December 10 and 17, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) committees will meet to decide on Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine respectively. After looking at available data, the FDA will decide which vaccine to approve. Seniors, care facility workers, and healthcare workers are among those likely to receive the vaccine first.
Will you take the COVID-19 vaccine if it is available in Africa?
Somehow, Africa remains one of the continents with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. This beats the deadly predictions by Western scientists. Obviously, it will take a long while before African countries can get access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The reason is that richer nations are buying up the available supplies. However, if the vaccine is available, it is likely that many Africans will refuse to take the shot.
Idk about y’all but I’m never getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
— Sandra (@sandraramos2013) December 5, 2020
Recall that sometime in April 2020, two French doctors were dragged online for suggesting COVID-19 trials in Africa. Ever since, conspiracy theories have been flying around. Thus, more and more Africans are voicing out their distrust for Westerners and their government. In fact, many Africans think COVID-19 is a hoax. Others accuse their government of using it as an excuse to loot the national treasury.
Surely, it will take a lot of convincing to get many Africans to accept the COVID-19 vaccine whenever it is available.
Will you agree to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available? Tell us your opinion in the comment box below.