COVID-19 and the vaccine.

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COVID-19 and the vaccine.

COVID-19 and the vaccine.

COVID-19 and the vaccine.

The covid-19 vaccine has arrived and certain countries have already started the vaccination process. The story of the COVID -19 vaccine is an amazing story of the triumph of science. Around 200 vaccine research started all over the world. This is the first time in history that collaboration has been undertaken on such a large scale. Competing companies have collaborated, different countries have collaborated and governments have collaborated with private companies. People have questioned this rapid development of vaccines and that has caused some distrust. But we need to understand this rapid development in the vaccine is not from start to finish. A lot of technological advancement has taken place in the last 10 years and all those techniques have been applied to develop this vaccine and that's why the companies have been able to develop the vaccine so fast.

 India also has tied up with several companies to supply vaccines and hopefully very soon the vaccination is going to start.

The difficult question to answer is what happens after vaccination?

If we think that as soon as vaccination starts we will be back to the pre-COVID era then certainly we are wrong.

Vaccination aims to create herd immunity and at least 70% of the population need s to have immunity with or without vaccination to generate herd immunity. So it's going to take a long time to achieve that target. There may be several hurdles on the way to achieve these targets – access to the vaccination program, people's trust to participate in the vaccination program, the cost of the vaccine is a few.

This a new vaccine so we have so many unanswered questions. We know that it provides immunity to COVID-19 infection as established during the trial but we do not know for how long? We also do not know whether it provides complete immunity or you may have a milder infection.

Do people keep asking whether we will have to wear a mask after vaccination?

The answer is yes. It's going to several months before everybody gets immunized. So wearing a mask and following social distancing should be the norm for a few months even after vaccination. The person who has been vaccinated can still have a mild infection and can shed the virus so standard precautions should continue.

Dr. Rakesh Rai. MS, FRCS, MD, CCT, ASTS Fellow.