What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines
How do COVID-19 vaccines work?
Vaccines work by mimicking an infectious agent – viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause a disease. This ‘teaches’ our immune system to rapidly and effectively respond against it.
Traditionally, vaccines have done this by introducing a weakened form of an infectious agent that allows our immune system to build a memory of it. This way, our immune system can quickly recognize and fight it before it makes us ill. That’s how some of the COVID-19 vaccines have been designed.
Other COVID-19 vaccines have been developed using new approaches, which are called messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines. Instead of introducing antigens (a substance that causes your immune system to produce antibodies), mRNA vaccines give our body the genetic code it needs to allow our immune system to produce the antigen itself. mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for several decades. They contain no live virus and do not interfere with human DNA.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Yes, even though COVID-19 vaccines are being developed as rapidly as possible, they must go through rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and effectiveness. Only if they meet these standards can a vaccine receive validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies.
UNICEF will only procure and supply COVID-19 vaccines that meet WHO’s established safety and efficacy criteria and that have received the required regulatory approval.
How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?
Thanks to the unprecedented investment in research and development and global cooperation, scientists were able to develop safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 in record time. All the standard safety procedures and rigorous regulatory standards were maintained.
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in many countries around the world, it is hugely encouraging to see there are more than 200 vaccine candidates in different stages of development. A number of these are in Phase III clinical trials – the final step before a vaccine is approved.
Which COVID-19 vaccine is best for me?
All WHO-approved vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at protecting you against severe illness from COVID-19. The best vaccine to get is the one most readily available to you!
Will the COVID-19 vaccines work against the new variants?
WHO says that the vaccines approved to date are expected to provide at least some protection against new variants?
Experts around the world are continuously studying how the new variants affect the behavior of the virus, including any potential impact on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
Should any of the vaccines be shown to be less effective against one or more of these variants, it will be possible to change the composition of the vaccines to protect against them. In the future, changes to vaccinations such as the use of booster shots and other updates may be necessary.
But in the meantime, the important thing to do is to get vaccinated and continue measures to reduce the spread of the virus – which helps to reduce the chances for the virus to mutate – including physical distancing, mask wearing, good ventilation, regular hand washing and seeking care early if you have symptoms.
Who should be vaccinated first?
As there is not enough manufacturing capacity in 2021 to meet all global needs, not everyone will be able to get the vaccine at the same time. Countries must identify priority populations, which WHO recommends are frontline health workers (to protect health systems) and those at highest risk of death due to COVID-19, such as older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Other essential workers, such as teachers and social workers, should then be prioritized, followed by additional groups as more vaccine doses become available.
When shouldn’t you get a COVID-19 vaccine?
If you have any questions about whether you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine, speak to your doctor. At present, people with the following health conditions should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine to avoid any possible adverse effects:
- If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- If you are currently sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (although you can get vaccinated once you have recovered and your doctor has approved).
Should I get a vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?
Yes, you should get vaccinated even if you’ve previously had COVID-19. While people who recover from COVID-19 may develop some natural immunity to the virus, we do not yet know how long it lasts or how well you are protected. Vaccines offer more reliable protection.
Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m breastfeeding?
Researchers are currently studying COVID-19 vaccination in breastfeeding women, but there is still limited information at this time. WHO advises that vaccinations are offered if a lactating woman is part of a priority group for vaccinations, for example if you are a health worker? Breastfeeding can continue after vaccination and remains one of the best ways to protect your child from diseases and to help them stay healthy.
Understanding COVID-19’s impact on the technology sector
The effects of COVID-19 are having a significant impact on the technology sector, affecting raw materials supply, disrupting the electronics value chain, and causing an inflationary risk on products. More positively, the disruption has caused an acceleration of remote working, and a rapid focus on evaluating and de-risking the end-to-end value chain. In addition, potential carbon emission reductions could result in a renewed focus on sustainability practices. This article considers the shifting landscape across a number of areas, including:
- - Hardware/software
- - IT services
- - Semiconductors
- - Network equipment