Difficulties of vaccination against COVID-19

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Maria Luisa Colpini Meurer and Mr. Mateus Henrique Aderaldo Amichi two 3rd year medical students of UNINGÁ, Brazil. They are 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 writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Vaccines against COVID-19 (a disease caused by SarsCoV-2, the new coronavirus) are real and several laboratories in the world have started studies to produce an effective vaccine to combat the spread of this infection. Some laboratories have already been authorized by the World Health Organization to commercialize their vaccines and several countries in the world have already started their immunization campaigns. But it is not that simple to immunize the whole world quickly.

The challenge begins with the production of the vaccine, the world population is around 7 (seven) billion inhabitants. A single laboratory does not have enough inputs to produce doses for the world population. It would take hard work, a lot of machines and a lot of specialists, but even so, cutting-edge quality control would be difficult. Another essential input is vials/ampoules, syringes and needles. These materials are incinerated after use, generating an impact, emitting more CO2 into the atmosphere.

After production, comes the distribution of immunizers. Road, air and water transport will be required. To maintain the effectiveness of the immunizer, it must be well conditioned and follow strict temperature control. However, immunizers are often placed in cooler boxes with dry ice to maintain the temperature. On long journeys, more care is needed, this would increase transport time, increase costs and make it difficult for remote areas to gain access to the immunizer.

In distribution, the total load is usually sent to large logistics centers, and from them, fractional loads are sent to smaller logistics centers. In these centers, a large cold chamber should be available to store the doses of the immunizer. In the event of a power failure, the assistance of power generators will be required, so that the refrigerators will not stop working and the doses will not deteriorate due to lack of temperature control.

After all these points are exposed, it is still necessary to convince the population that vaccination is indeed necessary and that prevention is the way to stop this pandemic from spreading and causing human losses, a vaccination campaign against a COVID -19 has been finding similar ground to that of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1904, the place where the Vaccine Revolt took place – a popular riot in which individuals refused vaccination. The reason for such a description is often the spread of false news, leading the scientific community that is struggling to immunize and enlighten the population, suffer from political statements without a sanitary basis, a situation analogous to the Dark Ages. However, even with movements contrary to the scientific community, it still stands firm in its ideals and a vaccination campaign against COVID-19 will be adhered by the majority of populations, placing science once again as an essential point for the development and the protection of society.

About the author

This article was written by Maria Luisa Colpini Meurer and Mateus Henrique Aderaldo Amichi. Maria L. C. Meurer is a 3rd year medical student of UNINGÁ and a member of IFMSA Brazil. She is interested in human rights and medicine and her hobbies include reading and participating in extension activities from her university. Mateus H. A. Amichi is a 3rd year brazilian medical student from UNINGÁ; he is a participant in the Academic Leagues of Integrative Medicine, Family and Community Medicine and Clinical Anatomy.

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