With news of a second coronavirus vaccine making headlines this week, we asked Salford Now listeners for their questions and concerns.
Vaccination specialist Doctor Colman Walsh gave us some answers.
Hannah in Pendleton said she’s worried about the possibility of severe side effects of having the vaccine. She noted that these concerns come from evidence that the swine flu vaccine caused narcolepsy in young people.
Doctor Colman assured that the production of the vaccine was safe.
He said: ” The swine flu vaccine was produced very, very quickly, but the difference is with the present vaccine- the Covid vaccine- I’d describe it like when you’re getting your house painted. Normally, you’d only have one man doing it.
“With the manufacturing of the Covid vaccine, they had hundreds doing it, so the whole world came behind the Covid vaccination and that’s why we think it’s a lot safer.”
The doctor also noted that the difficult part will be getting young people to take it, even after “the next stage” of studies.
Vaccines go through several stages of lab tests and clinical trials before they can be approved for use.
Regulators review the results of these trials to check whether a vaccine meets the required levels of safety and effectiveness.
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) November 16, 2020
“[The vaccine] will have to go through the studies and the next thing will be the elderly people” he said.
“We’d love that, in the long term, the younger generations would take it.
“They’ve done studies in Kingsbridge in London and only 50% of young people like Hannah are going to say yes to the vaccine. In order to live a normal life again, we need at least 60% of younger people persuaded.”
Sophie in MediaCity wondered: would it be just as effective to allow lots of the population to the infected with the virus rather than just vaccinating them?
“They have tried this” the doctor said. “Literally Donald Trump has tried this, and you’ve seen how many deaths there have been in the US. It really isn’t working.
“The European country that has done this is Sweden and they’re in an awful mess. They’re going to have lockdowns as well, so that really doesn’t work.”
Colman also stated that, despite how “excited” doctors and scientists were about the vaccine, the situation is still unpredictable.
“Your immunity can be quite short lived and that’s the interesting thing about the vaccine.
“We’re all very excited about it, but we don’t know how long that will last. We are going to need two of these vaccinations, but will we need it every year? I mean, there’s some studies saying that it could only last a couple of months, so that could could be carnage.”
Izzy in Eccles also raised concerns about the speed of the vaccine. She asked: could it be safe if it was produced at such a quick rate?
Doctor Colman acknowledged that even with the “enormous” studies, he understands that “there will be a concern.”
He said: “With older vaccines, you got the virus and you killed it and then you injected it. But all they’re doing here is taking a small, little bit of protein from the virus and injecting that in.
“So, obviously, we can’t say we’ve had the 10 years, but we’ve been giving the flu vaccine [for years] which is similar, and we’ve had very few side effects.”
He added: “A big worry for us medical people is there’s a lot of misinformation coming out there.”
“TikTok for instance, they have things saying “this is dangerous”. The other thing is, I do agree, we can’t trust our politicians. The head minister in the UK said they’ll have the vaccine by December- that won’t happen.”
With news of a new #coronavirus vaccine doing the rounds, I’m interested to know your thoughts. Would you take the vaccine? If not, what would your concerns be?
— Salford Now (@SalfordNow) November 16, 2020
The doctor noted that the public should have faith in the UK’s “fantastic universities and scientists” as they will “have the vaccine soon”.
Would Doctor Colman take the vaccine?
“My answer is always ‘yes'” he said.
” I won’t be the first one knocking on the door, but in the first couple of weeks, I’d be quite happy. I think that’s a good guideline.”