Vaccines are products that work with our body’s natural defenses to produce immunity against a specific disease. After vaccination, the immune system learns and remembers how to fight that bacteria or virus, thereby reducing a person’s risk from acquiring the disease.
Vaccines against whooping cough (1914), diphtheria (1926), tetanus (1938), influenza (1945), and mumps were developed as a result of scientific discoveries in the first half of the twentieth century (1948). Vaccines against polio (1955), measles (1963), rubella (1969), and other viruses were added to the list during the following decades, and global immunization rates skyrocketed thanks to successful global health campaigns. In 1980, the world was declared smallpox-free, the first of many major vaccination successes, but other infectious diseases remained a challenge but lowered the number of cases.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
When a person acquires an infection, our immune system recognizes the foreign virus, which will activate our immune cells to get into action. The immune cells need several hours or days to make an effective attack. These cells know how to get rid of the virus. After the infection, the immune system now remembers and knows how to kill the virus if the body encounters it again.
There are different types of COVID-19 vaccines, to name a few, mRNA vaccines (Pfizer BioNTech & Moderna), Protein subunit vaccines (Novavax) and Vector vaccines (Oxford AstraZeneca, Gamaleya Sputnik). Each has a different mechanism on how the immune response is triggered. But all share the same end point of making our immune system remember how to fight the virus causing COVID-19.Vaccination is not just for self-protection; it also has a huge impact on the community. Once a person is vaccinated, his or her resistance to COVID-19 is strong. Unfortunately, not everyone can be vaccinated against it, specifically children under 12 years old as there are still ongoing trials for this.
To protect such members of society, it is best if the people around them are vaccinated. When many are immune to SARS-CoV-2, it is difficult for the virus to circulate, so its transmission decreases.
In conjunction with the current widespread COVID-19 immunization in the Philippines, we can maintain a strong immune system by:
1. Getting enough sleep and managing your stress
2. Having a healthy lifestyle – Exercise, active life, improving the living environment in harmony with nature helps the body to stay healthy and increase resistance.
3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – having a healthy diet will provide your body with the nutrients your immune system needs.
4. Get enough sunlight – Sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D. When spending prolonged time in the hot sun, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated.
5. Avoid tobacco smoke – it undermines basic immune defenses and raises the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia.
6. Limit alcohol intake – excessive consumption impairs the immune system and increases vulnerability to lung infections.
7. Start eating mushrooms – One of the healthiest foods on the planet, mushrooms are rich in essential nutrients and minerals.