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The Covid Vaccines – What Does It Do? Part 2

June 14, 2021

Getting Covid 19, besides causing death, especially in the vulnerable, can lead to all sorts of complications. This can be lung scarring, chronic fatigue, heart complications, neurological issues, diabetes, & renal failure. Mucormycosis, a serious fungus infection occurring most commonly in the lining of the nose and surrounding sinuses, can be added to the complications list of getting Covid.

If you have already had COVID-19 and recovered, you may have some natural immunity to contracting the disease again. However because this virus is new, it’s not clear how long natural immunity might last. There have been cases where a second infection has occurred. In some parts of the world, such as India, children are now getting infected, and some have died.

Basically, the sicker the general population, the worse the effects of Covid are. The hospital system gets over run, such that people with other conditions are not treated, or worse still, they contract Covid from visiting the hospital!

The vaccine reduces the severity of the Covid virus on the individual, but does not stop the transmission to someone who is not vaccinated. This is the problem with opening the borders. We are not dealing with one virus but now variants of the virus.

Covid 19 virus enlarged

What about protection against variants?

In the UK trial, the vaccine maintained strong protection against disease in people infected with the B.1.1.7 “UK variant”, demonstrating 86% efficacy.

This is good news because the B.1.1.7 variant is now dominant in many European countries, is more transmissible and deadly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and is responsible for most of the cases that have arisen recently in Australia.

Less encouraging is protection against the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa, which can evade immunity that developed in response to earlier versions of the virus. The efficacy of Novavax’s shot dropped to 55% in protecting against COVID-19 symptoms from this variant. Protection against severe disease however was 100%, indicating the vaccine will still be important in reducing hospitalisation and death due to this variant.

Novavax, along with the other major vaccine companies, are developing booster vaccines to target the B.1.351 variant. Novavax are planning to test a “bivalent” vaccine, which targets two different strains, using the spike protein from both the original Wuhan strain and the B.1.351 variant.

Covid 19 showing Spike proteins

Covid is here to stay. Just like the flu, the virus will vary enough to render the vaccines less effective. Further boosters will be needed as is already happening around the world.

The future looks like simple precautions need to be adhered to for the general health of the planet. Hand sanitisation, preventing aerosol transmission by sneezing into elbows, stay home if sick, and masks on and/or social distancing, if unwell or uncertain around vulnerable people.

These precautions have already seen flu and cold infections drop dramatically in Australia, (although it’s starting to come back, surprise, surprise!)

How to Hand Rub with Sanitiser

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Next week

Shaping Up Teeth - Blog Series