Are COVID vaccination programmes working?
It’s natural to be curious about how well COVID-19 vaccines are performing. We can advise you on vaccination health implications for you, but is there good news on the pandemic?
Returning to normal life – and finally feeling safe from the threat of COVID-19 – depends largely on the success of the national vaccination programme.
When the UK reached the milestone of having over 50% of adults inoculated it was cause for celebration. The Government hopes to offer it to 100% of over 18s by the summer, and then vaccinate children.
However, it’s natural to have lingering questions and concerns. Especially regarding how successful the COVID vaccine is.
Antibodies and COVID protection
You may be aware that to combat any virus your body needs to produce specific antibodies – like an army of fighters who know exactly how to attack that particular infection. The COVID-19 vaccines currently used have slight variations. However, they work by introducing your immune system to harmless extracts or variations of the coronavirus. This then triggers a defensive response and your body produces those vital antibodies.
In clinical trials, this was proven to work at a level that satisfied the regulatory bodies that oversee new medications. With minimal side-effects.
Have the vaccines worked in reality?
The COVID vaccines have now been applied to a far more diverse population. This includes people who’ve already had the virus without even realising it (being asymptomatic) and those with a wide range of medical conditions. Have they all produced enough resilient antibodies?
Time is needed for comprehensive research, but there is strong evidence that the COVID vaccines are working even better than expected!
Evidence of success to date
Public Health England (PHE) announced that by early March, over 75% of blood donors aged between 70 to 84 had COVID-19 antibodies when screened as part of blood donor protocols.
The Head of Immunisation at PHE, Dr Mary Ramsay, said:
“We published our first data on how well these vaccines are working in the real world around a month ago. Many millions more people have since been vaccinated and we now have even more confidence in the vaccines.
“The latest data continues to show that both vaccines in use in the UK are still providing really good levels of protection against COVID-19. As well as reducing cases, if vaccinated people catch COVID-19, they are less likely to get serious illness and die.”
That last point is highly significant. The vaccine not only stops people from getting COVID-19, but it also reduces the risk of it becoming life-threatening! Dr Ramsay has also expressed the view the vaccine could stop COVID from spreading ‘almost completely’.
That’s the good news on COVID-19 we all wanted. Now, scientists can study how long the antibodies remain in your bloodstream, and whether repeat COVID vaccinations will be required, like the annual flu one!
If you still have concerns about any aspect of the coronavirus pandemic and your health, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our accessible and caring GPs.