Understanding how COVID-19 Vaccines Works

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Understanding how COVID-19 Vaccines Works

A doctor in a lab coat holding a Covi19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is finally out. The first mass vaccination program started in December 2020, ending on 15th Feb 2021, with 17.3 million doses administered.

Here’s all that you need to know about how the COVID-19 vaccine works.

How Do They Work?

Similar to all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine helps our bodies develop immunity to the virus without us having to be injected with it. The body is left with a supply of “memory” R-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus in the future.

It usually takes a couple of weeks after getting vaccinated for the body to produce these lymphocytes. As a result, even if individuals receive the vaccine, they may get sick as the body may not have had enough time to produce the lymphocytes. However, the process of building this immunity may cause an individual to get ill and display COVID-19 like symptoms, such as fever and a sore throat.

Do Vaccines Prove Long-Term Protection?

The COVID-19 vaccine has only been developed in the past couple of months, so it may be difficult to assess whether or not they provide long term protection from COVID-19. However, data has revealed that those who recover from the virus develop an immune response that gives them a certain protection period from the virus. Since vaccines build up immunity, this means that they may be able to provide protection from the virus for a while.

Two COVID-19 vaccine bottles and syringe

Types of Vacines

There are several different types of vaccines.

  • mRNA vaccines are made of a material from the COVID-19 virus that gives our body instructions on how to build immunity from the virus. This leads to our cells making copies of the protein, creating T and B-lymphocytes that can help fight the virus in the future.
  • Protein subunit vaccines contain harmless proteins of the virus instead of the whole germ, allowing our body to build immunity through the development of T- lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes to help fight the virus.
  • Vector vaccines contain a different version of another virus, and the shell of the material includes the virus that causes COVID-19, known as the viral vector. The viral vector gives our cells instructions to make a protein unique to the COVID-19 virus, prompting our bodies to build T- lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes.

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