The Overrated Power of the Vaccine
By: Benjamin Bian
Even though the vaccine may seem like the end of the pandemic, it is only a kickoff to the end.
It's no uncommon thought that the vaccine will affect the pandemic, but its impact will only be a start. Yet in the minds of many, the vaccine is the holy savior that will quench this brutal pandemic, no questions asked. The vaccine is the only barrier between our new, pandemic affected life and our normal lifestyle and habits.
Even with a vaccine, it would be hard to combat COVID-19. Vaccine manufacturers will have to crank out millions of doses in order to satisfy needs, and will also have to fight other companies over basic resources. Then the government will have to distribute the vaccines, and that will require massive amounts of paperwork and verifications. Finally, a staggering 20 percent of Americans said they would refuse to get the vaccine, and another 31 percent said they were unsure. All of these factors would make achieving herd immunity (when enough people become immune to a disease that spreading becomes unlikely) very hard.
However, the good news is that we will at least have a vaccine. COVID-19 is related to other viruses that already have a vaccine, while pathogens such HIV are completely different to anything we have seen.
Vaccines work by inserting a sample of weakened or dead virus injected into the muscle. When your immune system senses the invader, it sends many cells over such as Macrophages, Neutrophils, and Natural Killer cells. These cells are exposed to antigens, which trigger the arrival of B-Lymphocytes. These cells produce antibodies that bind antigens, and then trigger the arrival of cytotoxic t-cells. Then these cells brutally swallow and kill all the remaining pathogens.
However, respiratory viruses usually don't barrage straight into muscle tissue. They tend to stick to the respiratory system, attacking epithelial (lining) tissues within the lung. So to increase vaccine effectiveness, a nasal spray would be ideal.
The path during the pandemic is unclear; we still have a unclear future on the pandemic. But even with all the uncertainties ahead of us, experts are confident that a vaccine will not make COVID-19 go away.