The new Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech has been proven to be effective against a key mutation in the fast-spreading variants of the SARS COV-2 virus. There has been a lot of fear and speculation that the new mutations may render the vaccine useless.
However, new research shows that the Pfizer vaccine is effective on all the two variants :South African 501.V2 and UK B117 recently discovered, which seemed to have affected 45 countries by September last year.
The two variants are similar in that they spread first and have similar mutation. Speaking to the press, the Cabinet secretary for Health, Hon Mutahi Kagwe affirmed that no new variants had been detected in Kenya. Researchers however say that the variants may be in the country already only that it hasn't been identified or it's just a matter of time since it's detected .
The vaccine is different in that unlike the past vaccines where one is protected from infectious diseases by a vaccine that has a weakened or deactivated germs of the infectious disease, the Pfizer vaccine mRNA teaches the human body how to make protein or a piece of protein that is, 'the spike protein' which protect us from infections.
The vaccine is recommended for people from the age of 16 and above. It is also taken twice 21 days apart and it's a shot in the muscle upper arm of the hand. Side effects include swelling, pain and redness in the arm. One may also experience chills, tiredness and headache.
Additionally, it is not recommended for use by individuals with severe allergic reactions to ingredients of the mRNA i;e Polyethylene Glycol(PEG). The minor side effects should last for a day or two. However, those who get the vaccine have been cautioned to seek medical advice if the flu-like symptoms continue. They are also to steer clear of the second shot if the first caused severe allergic reactions.
The Kenyan government is considering Pfizer-BioNtech's vaccine and others which have been given authorization.
Featured image: Man getting covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Quartz