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  • Saanya Amalean

Monday Market Musings >>> Covid Vaccines - Is it Working?

With 28.3% of the global population jabbed with the first dose of the vaccine and, 14.6% with both doses, it is clear that the road towards a Covid-free world is not going to be easy.

Vaccines authorised for emergency use have been successful in curbing the epidemic in nations where atleast half of the population is fully immunised. But, with different variants and mutations on the rise, it has become difficult to determine which vaccines are most effective.

Health authorities and official government bodies are now urging those that have been jabbed, to still follow stringent health and safety measures, including wearing a face-mask indoors.

Researchers in Taiwan discovered that a 10% increase in vaccine coverage is associated with a 7.6% reduction in the case fatality ratio. Some vaccines are also shown to provide protection from being infected with Covid-19. This is vital, as it prevents the virus from spreading, resulting in so-called herd immunity, a feat that will bring the pandemic to an end.

Evidence so far surrounding the effectiveness and potential red flags of different vaccines are skewed, with a majority of the data pertaining to vaccines manufactured by AztraZeneca Plc and Pfizer Inc. Even estimates for the Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines are limited. The World Health Organisation indicated that although there are a plethora of effectiveness studies that have been published for public perusal, their quality varies substantially.

The efficacy of each vaccine is tough to gauge when considering variables such as vulnerability, strain of the virus and likelihood of being infected.

Although there have been no tête-à-tête clinical trials, the mRNA vaccines made by Moderna Inc. and by Pfizer BioNTech seem to be superior. Mixing these vaccines also appears to generate a better immune system. But in any case, doctors urge that the best vaccine is the one available where you are, as any form of protection is better than none.

A group of U.K. researchers say that a likely scenario is that even those inoculated with the vaccine may be confronted with declining immunity. However, exposure to the virus will boost and broaden their immune response to it. This also is a telltale sign that vaccine campaigns will go on for years to come and the need for booster shots will also be assessed.

With the fast-moving spread of the delta variant, many countries are doubtful about the efficacy of the vaccine in mitigating transmissions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the delta variant more prone to breaking vaccine-induced immunity.

Vaccines are shown to reduce the concentration of virus particles in the airways of individuals who become infected. But the delta variant is correlated to virus loads that are 1,200 times higher in newly infected individuals than the original strain. As new data is gathered regarding growing clusters and more research following vaccinations are being released, it is clear that the game has changed, and people must be wary for themselves and for the safety of others.

Published 2nd August 2021 | 12:22 pm

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