First things first, a vaccine makes your body think that it has contracted a disease which stimulates your body to make antibodies that protect you from that particular disease.
See the image below for how a vaccine works
When COVID19 hit the world, the race to make a vaccine began and so far today has been a great day for science and humanity according to Pfizer and BioNTech.
Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries around the world and so far, no safety issues have been raised. This is a good sign; vaccines have to be proven to be very safe to be administered to humans.
However, safety alone is not the only goal, it also has to be able to protect humans from infection, this is the main goal of a vaccine.
With this vaccine, two doses are given. Three weeks apart and the trials so far have shown 90% protection about a week after the second dose.
This news is a beacon of hope for a lot of people seeing that the world literally ground to a halt following the pandemic and the restrictions around gatherings. We are only beginning to move around and there already talks of a second wave especially here in Nigeria.
Would I get a dose and when?
Pfizer thinks that it will be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of 2020, and around 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. It is my belief that these doses will go to high-risk countries before coming to countries less hit by the virus.
The UK should get 10 million doses by the end of the year, with a further 30 million doses already ordered. So it might be a while before it gets to Nigeria. Fingers crossed. The vaccine also needs to be stored in cold storages that are below -80 degrees celsius. This poses a challenge to us in this part of the world
What does this mean?
If we’re being honest, many of us did not expect the vaccine to be ready this soon and there is still a lot of work to be done, but this is good news.
In the meantime, wash your hands, wear a face mask and maintain social distancing. There is hope that this too will pass.