The long-awaited announcement by adolescents, their parents and teachers has finally taken place: the vaccine against COVID-19 can now be administered to all young people between the ages of 12 and 17 from Canada.
Indeed, the vaccine from the company Pfizer is the first that can be injected, before the end of the school year, to all adolescents wanting to be protected against the coronavirus which has been raging for more than 14 months now.
A first teenager vaccinated
A first teenager was vaccinated shortly before the youth campaign officially began. As a result, a 14-year-old boy from Mauricie, living with great anxiety and having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), obtained an authorization from his doctor to be vaccinated quickly.
“I didn't have the normal life of everyone my age, to be able to go to school easily with a simple mask. With me, everything was extreme: three masks, difficulty going to school, disinfecting everything, washing myself every time I came back from school… Lots of things like that which made my daily life difficult. "Journal de Montréal, May 10, 2021
Objective: end of the school year
All other teens in Canada will be able to receive their first dose very soon, starting with Alberta. It must be said that Canada is the first country to approve a vaccine for young people aged 12 to 16. This decision was based on a study that was done among 2,000 young people in the United States. The results made it possible to decide that it was safe to give young people the same two doses that were given to adults.
The goal in Quebec is therefore to give the first dose before June 24 and the second at the start of the school year in September. This is great news for teenagers who have been particularly hard pressed by the confinement of the past few months. There is hope!
The role of vaccines
Vaccines are used to protect people by preventing them from developing certain potentially dangerous diseases. During vaccination, the bacteria or attenuated virus is introduced into the body. An attenuated infectious agent is harmless to our health since it cannot cause disease. This is where the immune system kicks in by making antibodies to fight off the bacteria or virus in question. The body therefore trains itself to fight the enemy and if it encounters it for real, it will be protected from it and will not fall ill!
The antibodies that have been developed with the vaccine may be effective against several strains of the same virus at the same time. For example, in the case of influenza, the vaccine contains three different strains (influenza type B, H1N1 and H3N2), which all circulate at the same time, and therefore may be effective against either of these influenza. In 2020, we are talking about an efficacy of 69% for influenza type B, 44% for H1N1 and 62% against H3N2. Overall, this vaccine protects up to 58%.
The manufacture of vaccines
The manufacture of vaccines makes it possible to obtain viruses or bacteria which have lost their pathogenicity, but which have retained their characteristics. Once injected, the vaccine allows the body to produce specific antibodies without developing the disease. To begin manufacturing a vaccine, researchers perform a massive cell culture of the bacteria or virus in question. Then, the collected cells must be heated and treated with chemicals in order to make them harmless.
There are two main processes in vaccine design: live (attenuated) vaccines and inert (inactivated) vaccines. Live or attenuated vaccines, such as those against measles, mumps and rubella require an infectious agent that is still alive, but which has lost its power to infect due to chemical treatments. Other vaccines, like rabies, are created by suppressing infectious agents living in viruses. Or as with tetanus, only a harmless part of the bacteria is used. These are called inert or inactivated vaccines.
It's quiz time!
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