Sunday, November 22, 2020

Most Canadians could be vaccinated against COVID-19 by end of 2021

CBC News has the story for you. Most Canadians could be vaccinated against Coronavirus COVID-19 by the end of next year, says Canada's deputy chief public health officer, Howard Njoo. But even when a vaccine becomes available, distributing it will be a massive logistical effort.

You might have thought about the definition of what a vaccine is. A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, destroy it, and to further recognize and destroy any of the microorganisms associated with that agent that it may encounter in the future. Vaccines can be prophylactic (to prevent or ameliorate the effects of a future infection by a natural or "wild" pathogen), or therapeutic (to fight a certain disease that has already occurred, such as cancer).

The administration of vaccines is called vaccination. Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases. The goal is to have widespread immunity due to vaccination. Successes have been made, such as the worldwide eradication of smallpox and the restriction of diseases such as polio, measles, and tetanus from much of the world. The effectiveness of vaccination has certainly been widely studied and verified.

Vaccines that have proven effective include the influenza vaccine, the HPV vaccine, and the chicken pox vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that licensed vaccines are currently available for 25 different preventable infections.

The terms vaccine and vaccination are derived from Variolae vaccinae (smallpox of the cow), the term devised by Edward Jenner (who both developed the concept of vaccines and created the first vaccine) to denote cowpox.

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