COVID-19: How can one choose a vaccine?
The fight against COVID-19 is a harsh one. Many solutions have been tested, and a multiplicity of vaccines, as Covax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Coronavac, etc, were born to provide immunity and to stop transmission. Among these vaccines, which of them is the best for you?
Different types of vaccines
Vaccines produced against COVID-19 operate in one of the following modes: whole virus, protein subunit, nucleic and viral vector. Each type of vaccine has its bad sides, and it is important to know and understand them before accepting to be vaccinated.
Whole virus vaccine
This type of vaccine uses the genetic material of the virus. The virus can be destroyed or live. Destroyed or inactivated virus cannot replicate in your body, but its genetic material can still provoke an immune response from your body. Live attenuated viruses can replicate in your body without causing illness, allowing your immune system to recognize the antigens and trigger the production of antibodies. People with weak immune systems should not opt for this category of vaccines.
Protein subunit vaccine
Protein subunit vaccines use a fragment of the genetic material of the virus, often a sequence of proteins. Your immune system will also recognize the sequence of proteins and trigger the production of antibodies. However, this reaction may not cover the damage that the real virus can cause.
Nucleic acid vaccines
Here, RNA or DNA from the virus is used to command your body to produce antigens. This will lead to the production of a great number of antibodies, equal to the viral attack. Such vaccines are cheap and easy to make, but up to now, no nucleic acid vaccine has been allowed for human use.
Viral vector vaccines
Viral vector vaccines almost function as nucleic acid vaccines. Yet, they use a harmless virus to give instructions to produce antigens. The virus used to provoke the immune reaction is not the target one. The downside is that people may be immune to some viruses used as vectors, and then the viral vector vaccine will lose its effectiveness.