February 25, 2021 | Written By: Mohd Syafiq
Within a year of the world being attacked by COVID-19, researchers are working hard to create a vaccine against the coronavirus that has claimed the lives of more than two million people worldwide.
The journey of creating a successful vaccine usually takes up to 18 months or more before it can be distributed to the public. For example, the BCG (bacille Calmette-Guérin) vaccine was first discovered and invented in 1920 but was only used for the general public in 1927 in Western countries. Our own country only started giving BCG vaccines in 1961.
The discovery of the vaccine for this epidemic is highly anticipated because this epidemic has not only claimed lives but has also negatively impacted various sectors such as the economy, education and health. Therefore, the invention of the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to help curb this epidemic and improve the situation.
However, the rapid production of this vaccine has caused public suspicion against it, leading to speculation that said COVID-19 is a fabrication and propaganda, and that the COVID-19 vaccine is not safe because it is produced too quickly. We will explain to you why the speculation is wrong and how actually this miracle is possible.
How COVID-19 Vaccines Can Be Produced Quickly
These are the factors that help speed up the production of this vaccine:
1.Technological advancement - A virologist, Prof Emeritus Datuk Sai Kit said technological advancement has allowed scientists to create a trial vaccine for COVID-19 much faster. Although the production of vaccines that are safe for human use usually takes years, the presence of better technologies has allowed the invention of the COVID-19 vaccine to be faster compared to the previous vaccines.
2. Less bureaucracy - According to health system experts, within 10 years of vaccine development, a lot of time is spent waiting for funds and meeting various bureaucratic demands such as meetings with committees, waiting for grant approval and others compared to the time actually spent on the actual study. All these processes have been facilitated to help speed up the production and approval of the COVID-19 vaccine.
3. Data sharing - In addition, scientists can also take advantage of previous research and studies on vaccines and coronavirus in the past. Data sharing between organizations, scientists and healthcare sides also helped the invention of the COVID-19 vaccine to be much more efficient as the needed resources and data are easily available.
4. More funds - To assist the study of the COVID-19 vaccine by governments around the world, NGOs, individuals and various agencies have channeled financial assistance to facilitate the ongoing researchers around the world so that the creation of this vaccine can be carried out smoothly.
5. More volunteers to conduct vaccine clinical trials - In addition, a greater number of volunteers has also allowed pharmaceutical companies to conduct clinical trials to obtain accurate data on the efficiency, efficacy and safety of the vaccine.
Is This Vaccine Safe?
Although this vaccine was successfully created, this success has invited suspicions related to its safety and effectiveness.
The safety of this vaccine has been hotly debated as a lot of people express their concern and suspicion over the speed of this vaccine production.
It is normal to be skeptical over something new, however, you should be aware that various evaluation processes have been taken by the government before choosing the vaccine from any COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer to be distributed to our citizens in the future. The effectiveness and safety of the vaccine are the key features to be confirmed before it can be officially given to the general public.
The government also mandates the vaccine to pass a strict safety and effectiveness evaluation and the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency has been tasked with shouldering this responsibility. The agency has scrutinized the data provided regarding this covid-19 vaccine in depth. The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also assured that there is no compromise in this matter and the study will be conducted in a transparent and thorough manner.
In addition, the agency is also responsible for assessing how to enable this vaccine to reach the people who need it. This proves that the government did not give this vaccine blindly even though its manufacturers claim that the covid-19 vaccine produced by them is 95 percent effective in dealing with the virus.
How This Vaccine Will Be Given?
One dose will be injected into the upper arm and followed by the second dose 21 days later. The vaccine is said to be 52 percent effective after the first dose and 95 percent after the second dose. Changes begin to appear noticeable after 14 days of the first dose.
Scientists and physicians are struggling to find a solution to fight the virus that is invisible to the naked eye.
Various studies towards the development of effective vaccines to fight Coronavirus have been done extensively. This family of viruses has been invading the world since 1960. Among the viruses that come from the Coronavirus family include Common Flu, SARS, and MERS-Cov.
While the government and the Ministry of Health manage the issue of vaccines that are suitable for the people of our country, for now, the best 'vaccine' is, to comply with all SOPs set by the authorities such as social distancing, hygiene practices and adopt the new norms in society.
*The free doctor consult initiative is supported and fully funded by DoctorOnCall