The COVID-19 vaccine’s challenges

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Sarah Ibërshimi, a 4th year medical student, studying at ‘Universiteti i Mjekësisë Tiranë (UMT)’, in Albania. 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.


On December 2019, the world faced with an unknown virus that emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Those few cases of COVID-19 grew progressively until that trickle became a flood, spilling out of mainland and spreading across the globe. Three months later, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak. 2020 was a year that tested not only health systems and global economies but also science. Within a year, scientists from around the world were mobilized to discover and produce a vaccine that would provide immunity to the population. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two mRNA vaccines have shown remarkable effectiveness of about 95% in preventing COVID-19 disease in adults.

The COVID-19 vaccines challenges:

Finally, the long-awaited vaccination against Sars-CoV-2 has started for priority groups-healthcare workers and the elderly. Despite the enthusiasm, the vaccination campaign is accompanied by two major challenges: distributing the vaccine and persuading the public to take the vaccine.

Getting a vaccine out to more than 7 billion of people worldwide within months, will be a difficult task for each continent, region, state, and government.  Distributing vaccines needs careful preparation therefore the COVAX Facility is designed to ensure equitable access globally. To maintain the efficacy, the storage of the vaccine is very important. It requires special conditions such as very cold temperatures. Also, health care system will need to ensure that everyone gets both doses of the vaccines in order to be effective.

The biggest hurdle to widespread vaccination is convincing people to get vaccinated. Many people have voiced concerns about how quickly the vaccines have become available, how short the testing process was or even how the pandemic has been used from the political.  Due to unfiltered information circulating on social media and networks, there is a lot of confusion in the population about the benefits of vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

We can expect the misinformation regarding the pandemic to also continue in 2021, with false information about the dangers of COVID-19 vaccines. However, even in the best of times, successful vaccination policy involves many moving parts. COVID-19 vaccines are developed following the same requirements for pharmaceutical quality, safety and efficacy as other medicines. People should be reassured that despite clinical trials have been accelerated none of them have been avoided or skipped.

Why vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is safe?

The vaccination is important because it is the most effective method to prevent infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Moreover it has been proved that all COVID-19 vaccines currently available and authorized from Food and Drug Administration have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. Science has made great efforts to solve a health drama that our globe is facing. In such a short time, the vaccines against the virus that ensure immunity to the population have been authorized. A new era towards normality has just begun.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. 
  2. Vox. 2021. The Covid-19 Vaccine’S 2 Big Challenges.

About the author

Sarah Ibërshimi is a 4th year medical student, studying at ‘Universiteti i Mjekësisë Tiranë (UMT)’, in Albania. She is Head of Department of Projects and Activities in ACMS (Albanian Committee of Medical Students), part of IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students’ Association). This new experience is enabling her to advocate change for the betterment of health for all vulnerable groups, which is also one of the main purposes of ACMS. The intertwining of the passion and professionalism has always helped her to show her best in all the responsibilities that she undertakes.

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