For two years now, coronavirus has been a severe threat to health and even to human lives, and its spread has led to a global pandemic. One measure taken to combat COVID-19 is population vaccination, designed to increase immunity and reduce the impact of the virus. However, due to the novelty of the threat and pre-existing biases against vaccines, distrust of this measure is spreading among people. Moreover, the virus is changing, new and more dangerous strains are emerging, causing fear that the vaccine may not cope with them. Despite many biases and weakening of the vaccines’ effects due to the virus intensification, research proves that this measure is still capable of providing protection, sometimes requiring auxiliary actions.
The effectiveness of vaccines is being tested by their manufacturers as well as other researchers. Recently, attention has been paid to several strains – the most common Alpha and the more dangerous Delta. According to Evans and Jewell (2021), the efficacy of the BNT162b2 vaccine, better known as Pfizer, is 94% against Alpha and 88% against Delta. Other vaccine – ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca) has not such good results – 74% and 67% (Evans & Jewell, 2021). This data was provided by Lopez Bernal et al.’s (2021) study. Authors, in addition to the exposure of full vaccination, which consists of two doses, also examined the differences between the efficacy of the first vaccine dose per two strains. They found a significant difference in action on Alta and Delta variants – effectiveness against the latter was significantly lower (Lopez Bernal et al., 2021). Such studies are valuable because they demonstrate the severity of new strains.
Despite the gradual weakening of vaccines, their effectiveness is high, and they still help prevent severe cases of diseases. For example, by mid-2021, vaccination helped prevent about 7.2 million infections and 27,000 deaths in England and 279,000 deaths in America (Evans & Jewell, 2021). Moreover, although the vaccine does not guarantee absolute protection, and a person can get sick, it reduces the likelihood of more severe symptoms and disease consequences. In this way, vaccination prevented 1.25 million hospitalizations in the United States by June 2021 (Evans & Jewell, 2021). The likelihood of long-term post COVID symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue also decreases by 50% after vaccination (Siegel, 2021). The benefits of vaccines for the protection of the population are significant and proven by research.
Virus strengthening is an essential factor influencing the effectiveness of the vaccine and causing concern for citizens. In particular, the effect of the most effective vaccines fell, and the number of hospitalized vaccinated patients increased (Siegel, 2021). In this regard, Siegel (2021) notes the need for boosters six months after complete vaccination for people over 18 years old. According to studies, such a measure provides 92-95% protection against coronavirus (Siegel, 2021). Thus, for now, to be effective, vaccines must be supported by new boosters.
Vaccination is one of the key measures taken to protect the population from dangerous coronavirus. However, some citizens may have doubts about its influence on health. Many researchers are interested in questions of vaccine effectiveness, and at the moment, their research proves the measure’s benefits. Vaccination enhances immunity to confront the virus better and alleviates symptoms in the case of a disease. At the same time, new and more dangerous strains are emerging. They can weaken the effects of vaccines, and therefore there is a need for boosters six months after complete vaccination.
Evans, S. J. W., & Jewell, N. P. (2021). Vaccine effectiveness studies in the field. The New England Journal of Medicine, 385(7), 650-651. Web.
Lopez Bernal, J., Andrews, N., Gower, C., Gallagher, E., Simmons, R., Thelwall, S., Stowe, J., Tessier, E., Groves, N., Dabrera, G., Myers, R., Campbell, C. N. J., Amirthalingam, G., Edmunds, M., Zambon, M., Brown, K. E., Hopkins, S., Chand, M., & Ramsay, M. (2021). Effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines against the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant. The New England Journal of Medicine, 385(7), 585-594. Web.
Siegel, M. (2021). Yes, you should get a Covid booster: Vaccine effectiveness is waning. A third shot restores it with few side effects. Wall Street Journal. Web.