COVID-19 Vaccines: Metrics you should know and why you should get vaccinated

Vaccination remains the most effective and safest approach to end Covid-19 pandemic. Vaccine hesitancy lies on three main factors...

The aim of all vaccines – by the virtue of scientific measures and specificity – is to prompt an immune response against a foreign substance; antigen.

After early inoculation in Africa, China and India, the above phenomenon was adapted in 1796, when an English doctor, Edward Jenner developed the first successful vaccine [Smallpox vaccine]. However, vaccine hesitancy still lingers in the 21st century.

“We have been blackmailed to believe that this disease is deadly and just few months after, they produced these vaccines. How can this be true? The timeline for production of these vaccines is too short. Vaccines are not fast foods.” Tade*, a 45-year-old banker in one of the tier 1 banks in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria quips.

This time last year; 2020, the universe was easing itself out from a global lockdown due to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) which has since been generally nomenclated as Covid-19.

The viral outbreak started from the city of Wuhan, China and mysteriously evolved into a pandemic to cause a major dent to the global economy and population.  Aside from the disruption to daily business activities, lifestyle and religious activities went under the drain. Religious leaders bemoaned the ripple effect in tithes and offerings.

As millions of Pounds, Dollars and Euros got lost, millions of people across the six continents got down with this virus and just few survived the virulence of this novel virus. A total of 217 million cases were reported, while mortality hit 4.5 million. 212.49 million cases recovered from this novel virus. All thanks to a better immune system and proper health management system vis-à-vis emergency operations and better response structure.

It was pertinent that a global lockdown was enforced in order to contain and control the pandemic. Multiple screenings were done and measures such as protocols and rules were doled out to curb further spread across the globe. Travel restrictions were imposed on local and international travellers. And it became a sin to walk around without a KN95 or N95 facemask on your face. Facemask became a thing – a valuable accessory. This is the new normal.

Other Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures like washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers have been put in place. And of course, physical distancing of at least one metre is strongly advised.

While all these were been observed and countries eased out from the global lockdown, a more effective plan to end the pandemic came into the fore – vaccination. Covid-19 is a viral disease with an element of person-to-person spread. Subliminally, it is a Vaccine Preventable Disease [VPD], and through this, herd immunity can be achieved.

Vaccination, Variolation, Immunization or whatever century or adjective you were or can use to qualify inoculation, please insert; and Edward Jenner will be satisfied.

World Health Organization [WHO] Foundation in collaboration with United Nations [UN] Foundation and other global partners like GAVI and UNICEF, through solidarity response fund, have put up means known as COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access [COVAX] for donations in order to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reportedly, the United States [US], through the United States Agency for International Development [USAID], has contributed $2 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low and middle- income countries. By provision, there is also a complimentary plan to commit another $2 billion by 2022.

Such contribution by USAID to COVAX is drafted to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for geographical location, where you can locate the most vulnerable persons, who are at high risk of getting down with this virus; this includes the frontline health care workers.

Now, to allay Tade’s consternation, Covid-19 Vaccine’s production didn’t start this last year. It started many years ago. As Philip Ball rightly put in his long essay for Nature, The lightning-fast quest for COVID vaccines — and what it means for other diseases: The world was able to develop COVID-19 vaccines so quickly because of years of previous research on related viruses and faster ways to manufacture vaccines, enormous funding that allowed firms to run multiple trials in parallel, and regulators moving more quickly than normal.

While traditional vaccines use live-attenuated and inactivated vaccines, most newer vaccines like Covid-19 vaccines use viral factor and Nucleic Acid [RNA or DNA]. Covid-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make harmless piece of the spike protein.


The Food & Drug Administration [FDA] granted approval for seven [7] Covid-19 vaccines. Namely;

Pfizer-BioNtech

Type: Nucleic Acid [RNA]

The efficacy of this vaccine in protecting against Covid-19 is 92%.

Number of doses to be given: Two [2].

Protection starts 14 days after the first dose.

Moderna

Type: Nucleic Acid [mRNA].

After undergoing three phases of clinical trials, the efficacy of this vaccine in protecting against Covid-19 is 92%.

Number of Doses: Two [2].

After receiving this first jab, clients are expected to wait at least four weeks to receive the second jab.

Moderna is stored at -25 and 15 degrees Celsius, while it is refrigerated at 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.

Johnson & Johnson

Type: Ad26 Viral Vector

The efficacy of this vaccine is 72% in US, 64% in South Africa and 61% in Latin America [South America].

Number of Doses: Single [1].

This vaccine can be stored up to two years with the freezing point at 4oF [-20oC]and for three months, it can be refrigerated at 36oF – 46oF [2oC - 8oC].

AstraZeneca-Oxford

Type: ChAd Viral Vector

In India, this vaccine is known as Covishield. It has an efficacy of 67% in preventing mild and moderate diseases.

Dose: Two [2].

After receiving this first jab, clients are expected to wait at least four weeks to receive the second jab.

This vaccine can be stored up and refrigerated for six months at 36oF – 46oF [2oC - 8oC].

Gamalaya-Sputnik V

Type: Ad26 and Ad 5 Viral Vector

Efficacy of this vaccine is at 100% reduction in risk for severity and hospitalization.

It has undergone three clinical trials.

Dose: Two [2].

After receiving this first jab, clients are expected to wait at least three weeks to receive the second jab.

This vaccine can be stored up and refrigerated for two months at 36oF – 46oF [2oC - 8oC].

Novavax

Type: Protein Subunit

Efficacy of this vaccine is at 89.3% reduction in risk for severity and hospitalization.

It has also undergone three clinical trials.

Dose: Two [2].

After receiving this first jab, clients are expected to wait at least three weeks to receive the second jab.

This vaccine can be stored up and refrigerated for two months at 36oF – 46oF [2oC - 8oC].

Sinopharm

Type: Inactivated

Efficacy of this vaccine is at 79.34% reduction in risk for severity and hospitalization.

It has also undergone three clinical trials.

Dose: Two [2].

After receiving this first jab, clients are expected to wait at least three weeks to receive the second jab.

This vaccine can be stored up and refrigerated for two months at 36oF – 46oF [2oC - 8oC].


Vaccination remains the most effective and safest approach to end Covid-19 pandemic. Hesitancy lies on three main factors known as 3Cs. 3Cs: Confidence, Convenience and Complacency.

The delay in acceptance of vaccine is not only measured on confidence, but also faith and easy access to getting a jab are also parameters that effectively aid vaccine hesitancy.

Matthew*, a 28-year-old Deeper Life member living in Lagos, has deep rooted faith and belief about eternal life.

“Jesus made everything perfect in His time, I do not see myself getting any vaccine. I am covered by the blood of Jesus. And also, I don’t want to die like a fowl,” Matthew reveals when quizzed from a Health Worth’s Vaccine Hesitancy survey.

For some people, it is the convenience of getting the shot at an appropriate time. Unlike Tade and Matthew, Adebayonle* and Bukola* both want to receive their first and second jab respectively but time has limited their chances due to their busy schedule at work.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is planning on enforcing a law to prosecute hesitators. This was made known at the Presidential Steering Committee [PSC] briefing on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021.

During this briefing, Dr Faisal Shuaib, executive director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency [NPHCDA] – the agency in charge of Covid-19 vaccination spoke on vaccine hesitancy and enforcement of law to prosecute hesitators.

“The Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health is exploring ways of making vaccines more available to all Nigerians including Federal Civil Servants and Corporate entities. Once these vaccines are made equitably available to all Nigerians, then we would need to have a frank discussion about justice, fairness and liberty that exist around vaccine hesitancy.

“If some individuals refuse to take the vaccine, hence endangering those who have or those who could not due to medical exemptions, then we have to apply the basic rule of law which stipulates that your human right stops where mine begins. So, you have a right to refuse vaccines, but you do not have the right to endanger the health of others,” Faisal disclosed.

While hesitancy can pose a threat to a successful immunization campaign, Adverse Events Following Immunization [AEFI] is a bigger threat if clients are not properly educated before getting the jab.

As it is with every other vaccine, Covid-19 vaccines also prompt AEFI. It could be serious and non-serious. Serious; when a client is hospitalized after vaccination. However, there is nothing to worry about as designated officers in each State Ministry of Health are on top of the game to provide a remedy for this situation.

On Sunday, August 1st, 2021, 4.08m doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine – through COVAX – arrived in Abuja. After critical examination, the vaccine has been given approval by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control [NAFDAC].

The second phase Covid-19 vaccination has commenced. GAVI has been reacting.

Some State government officials have also reacted in subtle and harsh tone.

Honourable Commissioner, Ekiti State Goverment, Dr Oyebanji Filani has been at the fore front of Covid-19 response in the State. He has always been proactive with measures and policies that will reduce the positivity rate in the State.

Reportedly, on Monday, August 30, civil servants in Edo State Ministry of Health were given a seven-day ultimatum to get vaccinated. A memo signed by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Osamwonyi Abiodun Irowa, warned that erring officers will be duly penalized.

Don’t wait till Covid-19 vaccines turn premium or enforcement takes it wheel. If you are 18 or above and yet to receive any of the jabs, please register your details on NPHCDA COVID-19 VACCINATION e-registration portal, and visit the nearest vaccination centre close to your abode.

A herd immunity is possible if everyone gets vaccinated. When we achieve this, we can be so sure of going back to living our normal lives without any restriction.

*Last name not given and it is just to protect the individuals