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Herd immunity first, then consider travelling
On February 14th, Malaysia was ranked 29th for the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide. Even though we are in the midst of the Movement Control Order (MCO) currently, the number has yet to be improved. Frontliners are tired, hospitals are being over occupied and the government is running out of options to handle the pandemic. The arrival of the 312,390 doses by Pzifer-BioNTech in Malaysia yesterday, is expected to help flatten the curve as a way to improve the economy, cure coronavirus and most of all, to help tourism move forward again.
But first, every country needs to reach herd immunity for travel to resume as how it should be, pre-pandemic. When we are able to travel internationally, do expect a trip full of immunity passports, mouthwash tests and more. While this presumably represents a high chance for our country to see the light of day to travel hassle-free again, there are still a lot of questions lingering in everyone’s mind. First, we dive into answering your concerns.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
Once vaccinated, our bodies will develop immunity to the virus that causes coronavirus, without us being infected. There are honestly a few types of vaccines available currently but all in all, the body is left with a supply of ‘memory’ T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.
Is the vaccine 100% effective?
There’s a reason why Dr. Preeti Malani, Chief Health Officer at the University of Michigan said, “masks and distancing are here to stay.” Even though the result of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s test proved 95% of illnesses caused by coronavirus can be prevented, somehow it will not be as effective in the real world.
What to expect after getting the vaccine?
Yes, COVID-19 vaccines will help to protect you from being infected but be ready for some side effects that may affect your ability to do daily activities for a short period. These are the normal symptoms and are a sign that our body is building immunity. Be ready for swelling hands with a slight of pain at the hand you’ve been shot. As for the rest of your body, you will begin to experience chills, fever, headache and tiredness.
About how many people in Malaysia need to get the vaccine for it to provide effective immunity on a large scale?
It is crucial for our country to achieve herd immunity as expected to not only protect those who have been vaccinated, but also the people around them, especially children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases such as cancer or HIV. This means they would be able to fight the actual virus if they should be infected.
If you have had COVID-19 and wondering whether you should still get the Pfizer vaccine, World Health Organization’s (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan explained it all in their latest episode of the Science in Five series.