“Prevention is better than cure”. Sounds familiar? Well, it is indeed true that most diseases in this world can be prevented by many health interventions. One of them is by vaccination. Vaccine helps the body to build protection against diseases by producing antibodies to fight against the respective disease. Diseases that are usually prevented by vaccines are typically the one that is easily spread. Although there is no guarantee that a vaccinated person will not get infected by diseases, at the very least it helps to reduce the severity of the diseases and prevent them from infecting others.
There is no need to introduce COVID-19 to the modern world. Everybody has experienced the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in 2020, and there will undoubtedly be other MCOs throughout the year until the Recovery MCO (RMCO) in 2021. These were the most difficult years for everyone, particularly for those who contracted the virus directly and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Fortunately, COVID-19 is under control—at least for the time being. We may breathe easier and get on with our lives with the knowledge that COVID-19 is not as likely to spread as it was during its initial outbreak, even though this does not imply that there are no cases at all in the nation. This may result from vaccination guidelines that lessen COVID-19’s severity and offer protection from the virus. This not only results in fewer infections but also in fewer cases of the virus causing serious illness in humans.
You might have heard about the many variants of COVID-19 virus throughout the past years. Virus in general tends to mutate easily and every variant of the virus is different in structures. Differences in the structure of the virus lead to the different function or ability of the virus to invade humans. The human cells lack proofreading skills that make the virus mutations more rapidly than human cells do and the virus become much better at evading the human’s immune system. The newer COVID variant known as EG.5 or known as Eris was in the news a few months ago and now a newer COVID variant of BA.2.86 known as Pirola. The newest variant of HV.1 accounted for 13% cases at the end of September compared to 8% cases previously. This shows that the rapid changes in the COVID-19 variants has caused researchers and scientists to find new vaccines that can protect humans against these viruses.
The latest vaccine used in the fight against COVID is a monovalent booster. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) committee recommended everyone 6 months or older to receive the newest COVID shot. This shot is specifically designed to target the prominent variants of the omicron strain. In theory, the updated vaccines help the immune system evade the most infectious variants of the moments and can be used as first-line COVID vaccines for those who never received initial immunizations. This specific shot is known as monovalent shot since it contains one component of the XBB.1.5 variant.
Both EG.5 and BA.2.86 are well protected against by the recently developed COVID vaccination. The absence of protection against the original virus in the new vaccinations may actually assist increase protection against new strains. The immune system can be biassed when they have seen something that they have seen before, thus, when including the original components of previous virus, the immune system will respond primarily to the original component rather than the updated virus. Recent reports suggest that patients infected with XBB.1.5 who had yet to receive the vaccine had developed enough neutralising antibodies to cope with the current versions of the virus. Hence, getting the new monovalent vaccine is enough to fight the previous virus that is still circulating alongside the new variant that has become the dominant virus. The previous year’s bivalent formula was no longer effective against the Omicron variety. Individuals in certain risk groups may receive additional doses with guidance from their doctor. People at higher risk for severe illness should get an updated COVID vaccine as soon as possible. These recommendations are currently limited to the people in the United States.
It is important to get vaccinated even though you might be thinking that COVID seems like a normal thing to live with. Remember, the ability for the virus to evolve has made the previous vaccine may be less effective in protecting humans against the infection. The previous vaccination may also start to wear off and cause the immune system to not be in its optimal state. This is very serious for people who easily fall sick such as those with immune system problems as they can get serious COVID symptoms once affected by the virus. Thus, it is vital to get updated with the vaccines available and to get it whenever possible. Getting a booster can help further enhance the immune system to fight against COVID.