Which Groups of People Are at Increased Risk of Severe Illness From COVID-19
People at higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 include individuals who have underlying medical conditions and have not been vaccinated

People at higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 include individuals who:

Children with the above risk factors are at a risk of serious illness due to COVID-19.

How do vaccines prevent severe illness from COVID-19?

Vaccines train the immune system to recognize and combat the virus before it has a chance to attack the immune system.

If a person who has been vaccinated is exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, the antibodies present in their blood will fight the virus and protect them from developing the disease.

Several vaccines have been developed for COVID-19. The purpose of all vaccinations is to generate an immune response that is specific to the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

Most COVID-19 vaccines use the coronavirus spike protein to trigger an immune response. These spike proteins help the virus connect to cells and move through the sickness. The spike protein is recognized as a foreign pathogen by the immune system, which responds by releasing immune cells and antibodies that linger in the bloodstream and fight the virus. If a person who has been vaccinated is later exposed to the coronavirus, their immune system will fight the virus more effectively. 

The FDA has declared that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine meets the safety and efficacy standards for authorization in children ages 5-11, and scientists are continuing to conduct studies. According to the CDC, children ages 2-4, unvaccinated children ages 5 and older, and adults should continue to wear masks, wash hands regularly, and maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from other people in public areas.

4 types of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work

1.Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines

RNA is used as a genetic code in COVID-19 mRNA vaccinations. The RNA signals the cells to begin generating harmless spike protein fragments on the cell surface after vaccination. The immune system recognizes the spike protein as foreign and conducts an immunological response, which includes the development of antibodies. mRNA vaccines are offered in two doses. Examples include Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines.

2. Vaccines against viral vectors

In this sort of vaccine, the genetic material from the COVID-19 virus is inserted into another weakened live virus, such as an adenovirus. After vaccination, the weakened virus, known as a viral vector, enters the cells. It transfers the genetic material of the COVID-19 virus that directs the cells to make harmless copies of the coronavirus spike protein. When cells display spike proteins on their surfaces, the immune system recognizes the protein as foreign and responds by producing antibodies and defense white blood cells to combat it. Vector immunizations are given in a single or two-dose series (preferred). Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik V, and Oxford-AstraZeneca vectors are used in COVID-19 vaccinations.

3. Protein subunits vaccine

Protein subunit vaccinations use lab-produced spike protein. When the spike protein enters the body, immune cells recognize it as foreign and begin creating T-lymphocytes and antibodies. Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine is a protein subunit immunization.

4. Inactive vaccine

Unlike traditional vaccines, inactivated vaccines contain the entire coronavirus structure after it has been chemically rendered inactive. To inactivate the virus, most vaccinations use a chemical called beta-propiolactone. This vaccination, unlike others, does not produce a substantial immunological response that lasts a long time. Adjuvants could be added to inactivated COVID-19 vaccines to improve the immune response. In the long run, booster shots may be required to provide long-term immunity. Inactivated COVID-19 vaccines are available from Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Bharat Biotech.

What are the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines protect people in the following ways:

  • Aids in the prevention of COVID-19 by slowing or preventing community transmission
  • Reduces the risk serious illness and hospitalization and prevents death if COVID-19 is contracted
  • Contributes to herd immunity by making it harder for the disease to spread because the number of people who are protected from COVID-19 grows
  • Prevents the COVID-19 virus from replicating and allowing it to mutate

In healthy children and adults, vaccinations are safe and effective. Before getting vaccinated, people with underlying medical issues should consult a doctor.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/13/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://publications.aap.org/aapnews/news/17965?autologincheck=redirected

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use-children-5-through-11-years-age

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2500139-overview

https://reference.medscape.com/drug/bnt-162b2-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-mRNA-pfizer-4000140

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/covid-19-vaccines-to-prevent-sars-cov-2-infection

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