Vaccine protects against Covid-19, not turning people into magnets

Bill Gates is not inserting a microchip in your body if you get vaccinated against the debilitating and deadly corona virus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

You will not become a human magnet nor turn into a zombie when you get vaccinated.

What the vaccine will do is increase your ability to avoid the infection or, if you do get the virus, reduce significantly the chances of your getting seriously ill or dying of Covid-19.

For people who still refuse to get vaccinated because of misinformation and  misconceptions, health experts from across Southeast Asia underscored how the anti-Covid vaccine, regardless of brand, was still the best defense against the virus, drastically reducing the need for hospitalization and saving countless lives.

In an international roundtable organized by the Philippine College of Physicians, PCP president Dr. Diana Payawal said, “Vaccine remains the single most vital tool against (Covid-19) infection” while Dr. Anna Ong-Lim of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital said “all current vaccines are highly effective in protecting against severe illness and/or death”.

Dr. Suwat Chariyalertsak of Thailand’s Chiang Mai University said, coverage, rather than vaccine type, might be a better predictor of how effective and strong protection was against Covid-19. All medical interventions, Singapore’s Dr. Mungall said, had risks and benefits but “risks associated with Covid-19 far outweighed risks associated with vaccination”.

Although Covid-19 had developed new variants, Dr. Christopher Lee of Malaysia’s Hospital Sungai Buloh said available vaccines were providing very high protection even against the highly infectious Omicron type. He said, because of this, “We do not need to wait for variant-specific vaccines.”

PCP’s Dr. Rontgene Solante agreed with his colleagues that existing vaccines could provide the population the protection it needed from the new virus. “Studies bolster confidence (in the efficacy) of existing vaccines.” Efforts, he added, should focus on expanding coverage.

The experts underscored the need for people to get the primary doses and the boosters, when they become eligible, as immunity provided by the vaccines weaken over time. Lee said the level of protection offered by boosters was the same whether one received homologous (same brand) or mixed (different brands) vaccinations.

As significant sections of the Philippine population remain unvaccinated and interest in boosters is low, Payawal said PCP members would conduct another nationwide campaign to boost vaccine confidence and increase coverage.

The PCP organized the roundtable to support the Department of Health’s Vaccination Booster Program.

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