- Hanan Abdel Razek
- BBC News Arabic
After the vaccination campaigns started in the Arab countries recently, I told my mother jokingly, how lucky you are because because of your age, you will be one of the groups that will receive the vaccine in the coming months, while I belong to an age group due to which I may wait until the end of the year before I can take the vaccine and remove it. The current blockade, let me not be surprised by the response that she is hesitant to take the vaccine because the information available so far is not sufficiently reassuring that “the vaccines are really safe and we do not know yet if they have long-term side effects.”
Arab countries have started vaccination campaigns in recent weeks, using vaccines, most notably the German-American Veserbiontic, the Chinese Sinopharm, the British Oxford AstraZeneca, and the Russian Sputnik. Research shows that each country needs to vaccinate 65-70% of its total population in order to reach community immunity that stops the spread of the disease.
My surprise increased when I learned that my mother is not the only hesitant person .. Since the vaccination campaigns started, there are those who reject it until the refusal reached the doctors, as is the case in Egypt during recent weeks. The number of doctors – who deal with Corona patients – has increased and are refusing to receive the vaccine. As stated by a spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Health, out of the 200 people who make up the medical team working in one of the Corona isolation hospitals, only 87 people agreed to be vaccinated. According to Ahmed Azab, a researcher in the health file in the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the fear here is specifically about the Chinese vaccine, as “the results of its third phase trials have not been officially published yet, in addition to receiving vaccination is optional and there are no serious attempts to convince doctors to the contrary.”
And if the rejection in Egypt has special reasons, there are others who are afraid of taking the vaccine in general. In Kuwait, which announced the import of one million doses of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine and the vaccination campaign began, press sources reported an increase in those rejecting the vaccination after the spread of some messages on social media, especially WhatsApp, depicting the vaccine as a “plot to alter the DNA.”
While some famous politicians declared their refusal to receive the vaccine, the former Deputy Parliament, Safaa Al-Hashem, who announced her categorical refusal
The Kuwaiti government announced that it would grant a certificate of vaccination against Corona to those who receive the required two doses of the vaccine, which will be a prerequisite for travel outside the country, which was interpreted by some as an attempt to urge citizens to receive vaccination.
The rejection here is not limited to the countries of the Arab region, as countries such as Spain have decided to register the names of those who refuse vaccination and share them with the rest of the European Union after polls conducted late last year showed that more than a quarter of the population reject the vaccine.
Do we reject the end of the “nightmare”?
Refusal of vaccines is not a new phenomenon, but almost every time a new vaccine appears, someone who doubts it appears, and there are movements against vaccination or vaccination against certain diseases such as measles – for example – perhaps most notably in the United States.
The World Health Organization had issued a report that 111,000 people around the world died due to measles in 2018, and it monitored an increase in cases in some countries, such as the Americas, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean countries, and this increase is explained by a decline in the demand for vaccination.
As for the Covid 19 vaccine, it is almost the hope for the end of the “nightmare” that we have been living in for a year and the return of life to normal.
Psychologist Alaa Hegazy says that in light of the Corona crisis, “there has become a trust dilemma” for many of us. Consequently, this fear is understood at this stage. The vaccine “has become, in some way, embodying our fears of the unknown. A person usually needs certainty, and the vaccine until now has a margin of lack of knowledge – even if we are advocates of the vaccine, this does not negate our lack of knowledge, for example, of side effects during 5 or 7.” Years… it was difficult for a person to carry all these layers of impermanence under the current circumstances.
Why should I trust a vaccine I don’t know yet آIts long-term side effect?
The reasons differed about the current fear of the vaccine, but perhaps the most prominent of them was the speed of reaching the vaccine, which usually takes years. But the World Health Organization attributes this to the scientific development and the injection of investments from various countries over the past year to reach it, which led to a shortening of the time period.
As for side effects, Amjad Al-Khouli, a consultant epidemiologist at the World Health Organization, says that this fear is correct to some degree, but a distinction must be made between simple and serious side effects. Al-Khouli added that so far, “side effects have been observed such as high temperature or pain at the puncture site.” … The third stage of clinical and clinical trials of vaccines is carried out on tens of thousands of people and they are followed up for several months. Of course, several months are not sufficient to monitor all long-term side effects, but indications so far confirm that there are no severe side effects in the long term. […المرحلةالثالثةمنالتجاربالإكلينيكيةوالسريريةللقاحاتتتمعلىعشراتالالافمنالأشخاصوتتممتابعتهملعدةأشهربالطبععدةأشهرغيركافيةلرصدجميعالآثارالجانبيةطويلةالأمدولكنالمؤشراتحتىالآنتؤكدعدموجودآثارجانبيةشديدةعلىالمدىالطويل”
According to Johns Hopkins University of America, the Corona virus has caused the death of more than two million people around the world, which exceeds the number of deaths from AIDS, malaria, cholera, and influenza combined in the same period.
In Norway, 23 elderly people died after receiving the German-American Fayez-Biontech vaccine – the vaccine approved by the World Health Organization, as well as countries such as the United States, Britain and the European Union -. The authorities announced that there is no need to review the vaccination campaign guidelines. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health stated that the deaths occurred in elderly people, most of whom suffered from serious diseases. According to Reuters, nearly 400 people die in Norway every week in nursing homes.
The Health Organization confirms that there is no evidence so far of a close relationship linking deaths to the vaccine, and Al-Khouli adds that “the vaccine has proven effective and safe for more than 95% of those who have been tested, numbering tens of thousands, and so far, no severe or dangerous side effects have been proven.”
Is there a better vaccine than another?
The effectiveness rate of vaccines that have been approved so far has varied.
Some have expressed concern about certain vaccines due to the way they are manufactured. For example, the German-American Pfizer-Biontech vaccine and our American director are among the vaccines that used a relatively modern method of manufacturing, which raised some concerns, but Al-Khuli reassures these concerns that “this method has been used over the past years to treat some types of cancer and has proven its effectiveness and that the studies that were made It has been confirmed that it is safe. Vaccines are generally judged by effectiveness and safety of use, which is what drives major pharmaceutical organizations to approve it, not how it is manufactured. ”
What about new breeds?
According to the Health Organization, the Corona virus belongs to a family that is considered one of the families that are relatively slow in viral mutation. And the best way to stop the virus mutating and prevent new strains that may be more deadly from appearing and to stop its spread through commitment to spacing to stop the infection and also through the use of the vaccine.
Al-Khouli says, “Until now, the approved vaccines have proven effective against the new strains, and thus provide an opportunity to stop the spread of the virus and also to stop its mutation further.”
But even if vaccines prove effective against new strains, it is not clear how long these vaccines provide immunity. The conversation takes place between 6 months and a year and maybe a little more .. While statements in European countries indicate that there may be a need to take the vaccine on an annual basis, in what is similar to the case in the vaccine against influenza. However, Al-Khouli responds to this by saying that “the main motivation for receiving the vaccine is protection from a virus that has proven to be highly health and financially costly to confront and affects medical institutions.”
Al-Khouli added that if one of the scenarios is to re-vaccinate again, the other hopeful scenario for the vaccine is “reaching the herd’s immunity, and the virus does not find anyone to receive it, which will put an end to it and life will return to normal.”
Al-Khouli ends his speech that the fear of the vaccine is healthy and “but it should not affect the behavior of the individual or leave him vulnerable to facing the disease, so that the vaccine may protect the person, his family, loved ones, and certainly society as a whole.” .