Covid-19 vaccines: understanding and taking up challenges

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Audrey Geoffroy, a final year medical student in the University of Bordeaux, France. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


A year ago, the world awakened while a new odd virus from China had hardly started its worldwide spread. Today, all eyes are watching over what seems to be the unique solution to such an unprecedented crisis in the 21st century: vaccines.

 Even before their commercialization, developed countries booked millions of vaccines from several pharmaceutical companies. Prices are yet officially unknown but intellectual property monopolies may prevent generic factories  from making more vaccines. Access to the vaccine by low and middle income countries is at stake while negotiations are ongoing with the different countries (eg. China, Russia, USA, UK).

Campaign strategies flourished nationally. They generally consist of vaccinating the elderly, healthcare professionals at risk and patients with comorbidities. They may face logistic issues, especially in setting up the campaign as quickly as it should to save lives and providing enough dosis everywhere. While we suspect children to well-spread the virus, who are not eligible to receive the vaccines, the targeted patients may not be able to receive the vaccines soon enough. Will these vaccines show efficiency and effectiveness against the uprising of new variants too? As new information pops up regularly, strategies should adapt swiftly.                                                                                                      It is largely discussed whether to deliver the second dosis within 28 days after the first one or to hang on and  deliver more doses beforehand instead.

On another hand, pharmacovigilance plays  a key role. As the vaccines safety was assessed only on short-term clinical trials, a sharp follow-up is necessary. Each adverse event is analysed and recorded in the national and the world databases. An imputability assessment is made, although comorbidities, concurrent medications frail may be confusing factors. A patient with mild or severe adverse events, allergic-related or not, may be eligible to receive the second dose. There is no consensus and it is to be decided by the doctor in charge.

Such vaccines made in only a few months raise suspicions. The lack of data, understanding and feedback weaken trust in the vaccine. Uncertainty shared through social media highlights the key role of health literacy to debunk common preconceptions. Reading articles and not only the titles, citing established facts and making the information understandable and well-explained to a large audience should be priorities.  In order not to connect two facts as causal relationship when it’s not proved, for instance, an individual deceased a few days after receiving the vaccine is not necessarily dead because the vaccine killed the person.

This public health duty is asked  not only to protect ourselves but immune depressive (people, children, pregnant women who can’t access the vaccine without the evidence of its safety and effectiveness.

This unique health and socioeconomic crisis should be the opportunity to choose cooperation over competition, to stand together and triumph over this pandemic.

About the author

Audrey Geoffroy is a final year medical student in the University of Bordeaux, France. She is currently working in the pharmacovigilance department of Bordeaux and follows the adverse events related to the covid-19 vaccines. She is also a member of the students’ association Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM).

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Over 330,000 Congolese migrants at risk after mass deportations from Angola – UN rights chief

Digital democracy: a Swiss view on digital trust

European Border and Coast Guard: 10 000-strong standing corps by 2027

Nike’s hands-free shoe is a step forward for inclusive clothing

Coronaviruses: the truth against the myths

‘Act now with ambition and urgency’ to tackle the world’s ‘grave climate emergency’, UN chief urges UAE meeting

Inclusion, equality a must for ‘long-lasting peace and sustainable development’, UN official tells high-level event in Baku

Medical ethics in the age of the social media influencers

Wide-ranging reforms needed to ensure Italy’s economic recovery

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission takes first step to launch negotiations with the United Kingdom

Sydney is choking on record levels of smog – and the bushfire season is just getting started

Mobile technology, a necessary pearl in developing countries

Medicines from the sky: how drones can save lives

New UN book club helps children deal with global issues

Iraq needs support to ‘leave violent past behind’, says UN envoy as Security Council extends UN mission for one year

Investing in education and skills can improve the health of both humans and planet. Here’s why

Business leaders join UN to rev up sustainable development investments

Canada and EU officially sign the trade agreement that could open-up the road to TTIP

Burkina Faso: Dozens killed in clashes, UN chief condemns attacks

Visa Facilitation and Readmission: the European Union and Belarus sign agreements

These cities score an ‘A’ for environmental action – but hundreds more are falling behind

New seat projections for the next European Parliament

Mental health in a pandemic: what to do to ease the burden on people with disabilities?

A Sting Exclusive: “Infrastructure can lay the groundwork for the Sustainable Development Goals” by Mr Fulai Sheng, UN Environment Senior Economist

Measuring consumer confidence isn’t useful anymore. Here’s what we should do instead

Health Education, is it a necessity?

EU boosts sustainable cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon

Returning to free movement across borders is of utmost importance

The Chinese film boom luring Hollywood’s stars

Human trafficking: stronger measures to protect women, children and migrants

Coronavirus: Commission proposes to provide €81.4 billion in financial support for 15 Member States under SURE

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

Inflation and interest rates indicate urgent need for action

A Sting Exclusive: “Asia-Pacific response to COVID-19 and climate emergency must build a resilient and sustainable future”, by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General

“Unequivocal support” for the people of Bulgaria in their legitimate demands

Commission threatens Chinese firms with trade penalties

Young health workforce – a core of effective primary healthcare?

‘Countless opportunities’ for new people-centred workplace, but ‘decisive action’ critical

If airlines were a country they’d be one of the world’s top 10 greenhouse gas emitters

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

Aid convoy for north-east Syria postponed over security concerns – UN relief chief

EU Youth Report casts stark light on life for young Europeans

Coronavirus: the Commission approves third contract to ensure access to a potential vaccine

EU Copyright Directive: Google News threatens to leave Europe while media startups increasingly worry

Corruption thwarts attempts to build a better world and ‘must be fought by all, for all’

India is now the world’s 5th largest economy

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

Turkey: Extension of EU humanitarian programmes supporting 1.7 million refugees receives green light

Europe faces economic turmoil as Italy gets closer to the Excessive Debt Procedure

This is why obesity is classified as a type of malnutrition

These 5 start-ups are shaping the future of Africa’s cities

4 solutions for reducing emissions from industrial clusters

Community Manager – 1289

How privacy tech is redefining the data economy

The Brits are not an exception and that’s why they voted to leave

3 principles to reinforce digital trust in supply chains

Future of Insurance Claims in Focus at Fourth Annual Connected Claims Europe Summit

At this ‘critical moment’, UN chief urges anti-corruption conference to adopt united front

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s