The world waited with anticipation throughout 2020 until we had an approved vaccine for COVID-19. Now, almost a year later, we have many vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada including Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield, and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). There are similarities and differences between the vaccines, but the one thing we know is that all vaccines achieve the end goal of working toward community immunity or what is sometimes called herd immunity.
What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity is when a large portion of the population in an area is immune to a specific disease. If enough people are immune to the disease, then the virus or bacteria cannot flourish in that community. When a population reaches the point of collective or herd immunity, the disease is no longer likely to spread. This is where vaccines come into play. Vaccines have played a major role in limiting the severity of illness and controlling the spread of disease. As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), safe and effective vaccines save lives by making disease rarer.
“When a large number of people are immunized, the virus will have difficulty finding a host if there are enough people who have developed immunity,” said Dr. Tania Diener, EOC COVID 19 Immunization Co-Chief, Saskatchewan Health Authority.
“Even if a virus infects an immunized host, the chance of severe illness is greatly reduced as the body is ready to actively mount a defense against the virus.”
Widespread immunity also serves to protect those who cannot be immunized such as newborns, making immunization important for you, your family and your community.
Whether it’s Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield or the pending availability of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), vaccines are safe, approved by Health Canada and they are the way forward to returning to life as we knew it before COVID-19.
Don’t hesitate, vaccinate.
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