Categories
Uncategorized

Perceived Covid19 Vaccine Obstacles

The COVID-19 vaccine campaign is an ongoing global effort to vaccinate many people against the disease to ensure protection from illness, regulate the rate of infection, lessen severe results, and return to everyday life.

The SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) that produced the COVID-19 disease, which has symptoms ranging from pneumonia to multi-organ failure, started a pandemic that still presents a considerable threat to the world.

It has caused economies to collapse and increased deaths and illnesses worldwide. Controlling diseases that can be prevented has been extremely difficult due to vaccine resistance.

Contrary to well-known illnesses like polio, the COVID-19 virus has never been encountered or even seen before. With the COVID-19 vaccination, difficulties were sure to arise.

People may feel they are being utilized as test subjects because it is new. After individuals believe they have completed their vaccinations and antibody tests, more vaccines, including booster doses, are provided due to the emergence of new virus strains.

Below are some obstacles that are affecting the use of the covid-19 vaccine.

The first on the list is vaccine reluctance and safety. Due to safety concerns, the spread of vaccines was halted or delayed in some African nations. Fears of unfavorable side effects recorded in Europe and the United States of America were significant factors in this.

The AstraZeneca vaccine’s suspension among younger persons in Europe has also impacted the vaccine uptake among younger health personnel in some African nations.

There are also concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine’s side effects, including long-term effects, ineffectiveness (due to the discovery of new variants), and vaccine quality controls. The extraordinary speed at which vaccines were developed and distributed is the root of the problem of mistrust in COVID-19 vaccines.

Another barrier is supplying the vaccine worldwide and within a country. Significant global discrepancies in vaccine access, supply chain disruptions, and deliveries already fall short of expectations.

Governments should be ready for the mass production and delivery of the billions of doses needed worldwide when more vaccines are researched and approved for emergency use and can apply creative methods to increase production capacity.

The heavy demand for a COVID-19 vaccine necessitates concurrently scaling manufacturing capacity with efforts to identify new vaccines.

Within, countries may encounter supply obstacles like; providing and transporting vaccines safely and securely, allocating vaccines fairly, promoting vaccination rates, and addressing the moral questions raised by vaccine cards and other vaccine requirements.

Another major obstacle is the lack of education and awareness. It is hard to trust what you do not know or understand. If there is a step-by-step guide to what the vaccine is, what it does, how it works in the body, the side effects, and the potential protection rate, people would feel more comfortable accepting it.

The unavailability of this type of information to a layman poses a significant obstacle. It could lead to other people not getting it. For example, if a community leader in a rural setting takes the vaccine because he understands what it can do for him, there is a high chance the people he oversees will do the same.

Myths and false information about the COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy and safety are quickly gaining traction online. This has increased people’s reluctance to get vaccines.

How to get the vaccine to rural areas also poses an obstacle. Practical obstacles to accessibility include things like scheduling conflicts or high transportation costs. It also includes having physical access to vaccination clinics and antigen test sites, having dosages available (including different vaccine kinds), and being able to understand information.

Sadly, problems like “vaccine nationalism,” or the refusal to share vaccinations across national boundaries, prevent a sufficient quantity of vaccines from being distributed globally.

To reassure the public regarding the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations, they should go through rigorous testing and processes before receiving a license. 

Information about these tests should also be transparent and available. Otherwise, factors like the mentioned obstacles with the vaccine may cause doubt and uncertainty.

Categories
COVID-19

Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted Through Food?

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt the whole world a blow in the past few years. It shook the world to its core, running businesses down and taking the lives of loved ones, family, friends, and acquaintances.

Infection rates over the past few months have reduced, and the world is almost back to ‘normal.’ COVID-19 protocols and regulations have been reduced or removed in some places. COVID-19 tests have been made easier with self-help kits, helping people to catch it before it progresses and curb the spread.

Yes, COVID-19 may look like a thing of the past. However, people are still getting infected every day from well-known sources like breathing the same air in the same surrounding as an infected person or touching surfaces where respiratory droplets have landed.

The primary mode of COVID-19 transmission is through respiratory droplets from an infected person talking, sneezing, or coughing. Because of this, there are concerns about getting the virus from food and packaging.

This post will look more in-depth at what is known about catching the coronavirus via food or packaging materials. Let’s answer a few questions. Firstly, how do you get an illness from food?

There are two possible ways

The first way happens when someone handling your food becomes ill with a virus or bacteria while preparing it, contaminating the food item.

The second way is when food—like lettuce or red onions—becomes contaminated with a pathogen (a disease-causing organism, like E. coli, in this case, COVID-19 virus), which may have developed during the food’s growth or been introduced during distribution.

Is There A Possibility Of Transmission Of Covid-19 Through Food From The Store?

According to the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of spread from food products or packaging is low because of the poor survivability of the COVID-19 virus on surfaces.

Chances are, food may contain the coronavirus. In fact, according to some currently under-reviewed research, the virus can persist for weeks on frozen or refrigerated foods.

The COVID-19 virus requires living host cells to reproduce. They cannot grow in or on food, unlike bacteria or fungi.

Practicing safety tips when handling food can help in preventing coronavirus. Some examples of these tips include; Proper hand washing before touching food, rinsing fresh produce thoroughly to eliminate germs, and cooking at recommended temperatures to kill any remaining virus.

You can be worried about restaurant food in addition to fresh food. This can include food you order from takeout restaurants or delivered to your home.

Even if it’s not impossible, it’s still unlikely to contract the new coronavirus from food prepared or handled by another person.

Restaurants have taken steps like ensuring all workers; frequently undergo the COVID-19 test, use gloves in food preparation, use masks, and disinfect and clean surfaces more regularly.

You can also protect yourself while dining out by wearing your facemask, ensuring you keep the necessary social distancing guidelines, ensuring the staff of your chosen restaurant wears facemasks, and using hand sanitizers when necessary.

 For the time being, skip eating out if you don’t feel at ease. Ordering takeout can be a good option, so you can enjoy food from your favorite without risking infection.

Can You Get Covid From Food Packaging or Takeout?

According to the CDC, no COVID-19 cases have been connected to food packaging or shopping bags.

Washing your hands after handling packages can help prevent infection.

Finally, a person would need to have COVID-19 while making your food, have a high enough viral load (the quantity of virus they have inside them), and cough or sneeze directly into your food to have any chance of a foodborne contamination route. The virus would also need to be able to survive and persist in that meal.

While COVID-19 is no longer spreading wildly, people are still getting infected. You can prevent it by keeping the new COVID-19 guidelines and taking antibody tests if you suspect you have been infected.

Categories
Mental health

COVID-19 Stress and Its Impact on Mental Health

It is gradually approaching three years since the deadly COVID-19 virus swept through the world, bringing fear and panic and leaving behind millions of infected and dead persons in its wake. 2020 was the year that facemasks and hand sanitizers became necessary accessories. Distance became a significant issue as families and friends worldwide were separated during the lockdown, and that year also birthed the various conspiracy theories on the COVID-19 virus. 

The COVID-19 virus’ spread has been contained to a level where the closest thing to normal has been restored. Unfortunately, a part of our lives that continues to be affected years later by the virus is our mental health. The pandemic wave has closely linked COVID-19 and mental health because, during that period, it was not just the world nations’ economies that dealt a huge blow. It was also our health—our mental health—against the virus. 

The COVID-19 global pandemic inflicted damage on the primary functional sectors that the world ran on, including the economic, transportation, industrial, educational, and health sector. Numerous people were laid down from their jobs, students from their schools, and those who had the pass to continue their work, such as nurses, doctors, and other health workers, battled with the possibility of contracting the virus. There were reports of people who were unfortunately trapped in a foreign city when the lockdown was declared. With airports shut down, these people had to spend weeks—if not months—away from their family and other familiar faces. In contrast, others lost their livelihood and sources of income.

A distinctive common trait that rapidly spread worldwide along with the virus was accompanying stress. This stress came from different factors, such as being locked in for a long time. There were various cases of people who had no physical contact for months because they lived alone and had to make do with voice and video calls to communicate with their loved ones. Some others had to battle stress because of the lack of jobs. It was especially difficult for people that had others to cater for. COVID-19 stress played a prominent role in the dwindling mental health stability of the pandemic’s survivors.

Chronic stress has long been identified as a vital factor that increases the risks of mental health diseases and illnesses, including anxiety and depression, insomnia, bipolar disorder, substance use problems, and many others. The most common causes of stress include familial issues, work, financial situations, personal relationships, and overthinking, all of which happened in abundance during the pandemic.

 As estimated by statistics, about 114 million people lost their jobs and sources of income due to the pandemic; countless businesses had to shut down due to the lockdown, and a UK-based family firm reported a 95% increase in divorce rates. School children reportedly lost approximately 1.8 trillion hours of education, with nearly 800 million young adults and teenagers put out of schools and colleges, among many other devastating losses.

These, along with other factors, had people overthinking and slipping into depression, their hopes dwindling as the virus raged and the lockdown remained day after day. While some people could adapt and remain unaffected mentally, others were not as strong and thus suffered.

The World Health Organisation reported a rise in suicide rates, self-harm thoughts, and relapse of mental illnesses due to fear of the virus, and many others among people of various age groups and gender, ranging from the elderly to teenagers and even children. Early this year, a 25% increase in depression and anxiety worldwide was reported by the WHO, urging countries to “step up mental health services and support.”

Since the lockdown was eased and the vaccine discovery, life has been made easier. However, there are still thousands of people who are struggling with one form of mental illness or the other, and it is not spoken about enough. That is why there needs to be more mental health awareness because that is one aspect that affects our overall health.

Categories
Omicron BA.5

Latest symptoms and effects of the new Omicron BA.5

The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2, spread worldwide, causing a global pandemic, as is well-known. This pandemic led to a total lockdown of different countries and affected their economies, as not everyone could go about their businesses. The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the hospitalization of many and the loss of countless lives.

During that period, it was essential to watch for specific symptoms like fever, cough, loss of smell and taste, headache, sore throat, chest pain, etc., as these are the symptoms of COVID-19. It is advised that anyone with these symptoms should get an antigen test to know if they have been infected with the virus or not.

Like every other virus, SARS-Cov-2 changes in form. The virus, popularly known for its frequent and rapid changes, has morphed into several different variants since its discovery. These different variants all have distinguishing characteristics and, in some cases, varying symptoms and effects. There is the Alpha variant, Beta variant, Gamma variant, Delta variant, and lastly, the Omicron variant.

These variants listed above all have their lineages and sub-lineages. The Alpha variant has the B.1.1.7 and Q lineages; Beta has B.1.351 or 501.v2 lineage, Gamma has P.1 lineage, Delta has the AY and B.1.617.2 lineages, while Omicron has B.1.1.529, BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4, BA.5 lineages. 

The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa in November 2021. During this same period, people living in England, Nigeria, and the United States were also said to have been infected by the new variant.

The Omicron variant can be contracted and spread easier than the other variants whether you have been vaccinated. Compared to other variants, Omicron causes less severe cases of infection. The variant causes more lenient diseases, even though some cases of death and hospitalization may still occur.

The Omicron BA.5, the newest strain, has been very dominant in the U.S and is said to be spreading rapidly there. BA.5 being the latest of its kind has led to a lot of questions like, “Is it deadlier than the original strain?”, “Does it have different symptoms?”, “Does the COVID-19 vaccine work on it?” and many more. These questions will be covered in this article.

BA.5 is the predominant COVID-19 strain out now. Not only does this new strain spread fast, but it also evades vaccination of previous COVID-19 strains. BA.5 mutation has allowed it to move through immune systems quickly. For example, if you have Beta strain immunity, it would not protect you against the BA.5 strain.

Some symptoms of the BA.5 strain are similar to that of the previous COVID-19 strains. They include sore throat, cough, fever, muscle pain, headache, fatigue, and runny nose. These symptoms last a few weeks, but for people with long symptoms, it lasts up to four weeks or longer. Loss of sense of taste and smell is not a common symptom of the BA.5 strain. 

Although Omicron BA.5 is very infectious and spreads fast, it is not likely to cause severe illnesses compared to the other COVID-19 strains. Regardless, people should take safety precautions to avoid contracting the virus, like getting vaccinated, wearing face masks, proper washing and sanitizing of hands, and, of course, social distancing. Also, people should have home COVID tests (antigen tests) to ensure they are not infected. Although antigen tests are not hundred percent reliable, they are still essential during this period.

If someone contracts the virus more than once, the risk for complications becomes higher, and there would be a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disorders, and other complications. It is highly advised that people take the COVID vaccines to prevent these complications. The vaccines would not prevent you from contracting the Omicron BA.5 variant, but they will protect you from illnesses that you may not be able to manage.

No one knows how many more COVID-19 strains will surface, so staying safe by following COVID-19 protocols and being updated on COVID-19 news is essential.