Immunization against new coronavirus infection, COVID-19 (vaccines) by SHARE 2021.2.26
Benefits of vaccination
- There are two pillars: prevention and treatment to fight against COVID-19. In order to prevent infection, it is necessary to disinfect the environment and wash our hands thoroughly to avoid contact infection. We must wear a mask to reduce contact with the virus from infected people and avoid contact with many people in the "Three C environments" (closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings). The most fundamental way of preventing infection is for our bodies to produce antibodies that will fight against the virus through immunization (vaccination). Vaccination prevents the new coronavirus from increasing in the body and preventing the onset of COVID-19. Vaccination can also prevent the progression of virus-related illness leading to a serious condition and death.
- Generally, when many people are infected with the disease, "herd immunity" will be achieved and the epidemic will subside. However, in the case of COVID-19, herd immunity is difficult to achieve because the antibodies produced in the body of an infected person last only about six months.
- Since April 2020, more than 70 different vaccines have been developed and tested in clinical trials.
- On February 12, 2021, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) gave fast-track approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for manufacture and distribution, after confirming its efficacy and safety through data from clinical trials. The approval in Japan comes two months later than in Europe and the United States. Pfizer's vaccine is administered to people aged 16 and over in two doses, three weeks apart. After vaccinating selected doctors and nurses, the plan is to inoculate about 3.7 million other healthcare providers in March and start vaccinating about 36 million elderly people in April. AstraZeneca, a British company, applied for approval to manufacture and distribute their COVID-19 vaccine in Japan on Feb. 5, and the government has also decided to receive supplies from the U.S. company, Moderna.
Adverse events of the vaccines
- In general, adverse health effects to vaccinations are unavoidable, although they are extremely rare. The overseas vaccines that are planned to be supplied to Japan (vaccines being developed by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Novavax) are not currently considered to have raised any serious safety concerns. On the other hand, there have been reports of adverse events after vaccination, including those not causally related to vaccination, such as pain at the site of the vaccination, headache, fatigue and myalgia. Anaphylaxis (acute allergic reaction) was also reported to have occurred in rare cases in vaccinations already carried out overseas. If anaphylaxis occurs, it should be treated immediately at the location where the vaccination was administered, or at a medical institution.
- In principle, vaccine recipients of the new coronavirus vaccine should be vaccinated in the municipality where their residence is located, as each region will establish its own vaccination system for its residents. On the other hand, if a person is unable to receive a vaccination ticket from their municipality due to unavoidable circumstances, the municipality will issue a vaccination ticket and administer the vaccination if the actual status of the person's residence is recognized. Homeless people and foreigners living in Japan who do not have a residence certificate may be eligible.
Nikkei News: Suga says Japan's vaccinations to begin in the middle of next week
-Country set to start inoculation with Pfizer jabs, starting with health workers
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW)：10 things to know about the COVID-19 as of right now（As of January 2021）
Written by Nakasa T, MD, Co-President of SHARE