WHO: Expect slight ‘side effects’ from vaccines

SLIGHT SIDE EFFECTS NORMAL. Provincial Health Office nurse Macchiavelia Caliao speaking during the Kapihan sa PIA in Bohol. She explained that the reaction of the body’s immune system once it identifies the invading virus or bacteria, can be manifested in slight fever, headaches, muscle pains. But these are nothing serious as the vaccines are designed to be safe, she added. (PIA Bohol) 

CORTES, Bohol, Jan. 22 (PIA) -- Expect side effects from the vaccines but they should not be serious because serious side effects of vaccines are exceedingly rare, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO said vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them.

Vaccination uses the body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and makes the immune system stronger while it trains the immune system to create antibodies. 

Medical professionals and health workers have assured that while there may be some physical discomfort associated with the vaccines like fatigue, headaches, chills, muscle pains, and slight fever, these are nothing to worry about because these are indications that the vaccines are doing what they are supposed to do.

"Treat when the pain becomes unbearable, but not right away as we need to allow the vaccine to generate enough antibody response to identify the invading virus and find a way to kill it," explained nurse Machiavelia Caliao of the Bohol Provincial Health Office.

The race to find effective vaccines against COVID-19 have led researchers and leading vaccine experts to explore the traditional methods of creating vaccines, as well as deepened research into three more areas, one of which is considered a novel technology that would open up a new frontier for stem cell research.

According to the WHO, such methods include the use of inactivated or weakened virus vaccines, which use a form of the virus that has been inactivated or weakened so it does not cause the disease but still generates an immune response.

Vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella as well as for chicken pox and polio use this technology.

Another method which has been tested is using protein-based vaccines.

These use harmless fragments of proteins or protein shells that copy the pathogenic virus like the COVID-19 virus to safely generate an immune response.

Rather than injecting a whole pathogen to trigger an immune response, sub-unit vaccines contain purified pieces of it, which have been specially selected for their ability to stimulate immune cells.

As these fragments are incapable of causing disease, these vaccines are considered very safe.

Other protein-based vaccines in widespread use include hepatitis B and acellular pertussis vaccines (protein subunit), pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (polysaccharide), and the MenACWY vaccine which contains polysaccharides from the surface of four types of the bacteria that causes meningococcal disease joined to diphtheria or tetanus toxoid.

Still another group of researchers dove into the world of viral vector vaccines, which use a virus that has been genetically engineered so that it could not cause disease but produces coronavirus proteins to safely generate an immune response.

Viral vector-based vaccines differ from most conventional vaccines in that they do not contain antigens but rather use the body’s own cells to produce them.

This is done by using a modified virus (the vector) to deliver genetic code for antigen, in the case of COVID-19 spike proteins found on the surface of the virus, into human cells.

By infecting cells and instructing them to make large amounts of antigen, which then trigger an immune response, the vaccine mimics what happens during natural infection with certain pathogens - especially viruses.

Lastly, researchers trying to find an effective vaccine against COVID-19 explored a novel way of triggering the body’s immune system to respond to a viral threat.

This is through the use of the RNA and DNA vaccines. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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