By Nobert Atukunda

The vaccines for Covid-19 are all designed to teach the body’s immune system to recognise and fight the virus that causes Covid-19.
 How does the vaccine protect against Covid-19?
 Inactivated or weakened virus vaccines use a form of the virus that has been inactivated or weakened so it doesn’t cause disease, but still generates an immune response.

Protein-based vaccines – use harmless fragments of proteins or protein shells that mimic the Covid-19 virus to safely generate an immune response. 
Viral vector vaccines use a virus that has been genetically engineered so that it cannot cause disease but produces coronavirus proteins to safely generate an immune response.  RNA and DNA vaccines – use genetically engineered RNA or DNA to generate a protein that safely prompts an immune response.

 Can someone with allergies take the vaccine?
 Dr Phionah Atuhebwe, the New Vaccines Introduction Medical Officer at World Health Organisation, said those that are allergic to foods such as eggs, chicken should avoid the vaccine for now until more information is gathered as the vaccine has a content called protein and thus they do not want anybody with such allergies to react to the content.
Can pregnant women be vaccinated?
Dr Alfred Driwale, the programme manager of Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunisation, said: “The vaccine is safe for all age groups above 18 years, pregnant and lactating mothers.”

World Health Organisation says while pregnancy puts women at higher risk of severe Covid-19, very little data is available to assess vaccine safety in pregnancy.  
Pregnant women may receive the vaccine if the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks. Thus pregnant women at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (for instance health workers) or who have comorbidities, which add to their risk of severe disease may be vaccinated in consultation  with a medic.

READ: How to treat Covid from home

 Why is Uganda using the Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine? 
Uganda opted for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India because the vaccine technology has been tested for more than a century and the vaccine fridges in our health facilities meet the storage temperature requirements of 2 – 8 degrees centigrade. It is for this same reason that the Chinese vaccine may be considered for use in Uganda. This is contrary to newer technologies such as the Pfizer vaccine. 

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Unanswered questions

• What should I do if my body starts reacting negatively after the injection (experiencing side effects from the vaccine)?                                                  

• Can someone get both the jabs of Chinese vaccine and that of AstraZeneca vaccine?                                    

•How soon can we expect vaccines for people below 18 years?

• What are the predictors that someone’s body may react negatively after the jab?                                  

•What are the known side effects that a recipient may experience?

•Will Covid-19 ever go away?                             

 • Which percentage of vaccinated people do we need to reopen closed sectors?                                     

•Why didn’t the President launch the roll out of the vaccination in the country and why wasn’t he the first person to be vaccinated just like most of the other presidents?                                                

•Does the vaccine protect us against all variants?         

•When will the rest of the population be vaccinated?       

• When will the rest of the vaccine arrive in the country? 

•Who will receive the Chinese vaccine?                     

•When will politicians and other leaders be vaccinated?



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