Let’s Take a Dive Into The COVID-19 Vaccine Glossary.

Coronavirus-related terms and phrases have become regular fixtures in news headlines and have become a part of our vocabulary.

The COVID-19 vaccines —which have brought hope for people globally—have also introduced us to a bunch of words and terms, some of which you might not understand.

We’ll be highlighting a few in this article, and we hope that you learn a thing or two.

       a. Vaccine Equity

This means equal distribution of vaccines to vaccines by everyone. According to the United Nations Development Programme, it means that “means that vaccines should be allocated equally across all countries, regardless of their developmental or economic status”

       b. Herd Immunity

The World Health Organization defines it as the “indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection”. WHO supports and recommends vaccinations as the preferred method of achieving herd immunity, so if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, kindly visit the nearest government hospital to do so.

        c.Vaccine Hesitancy

This occurs when individuals are unwilling to get vaccinated due to uncertainty and suspicions regarding the vaccine. According to the WHO, it refers to the “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services.”

       d. mRNA

mRNA is an acronym for “Messenger Ribonucleic Acid”.  mRNA vaccines protect against contagious diseases. Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 are mRNA vaccines. Click here to read more about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

      e. Antigen

The CDC defines antigens as “foreign substances (e.g. bacteria or viruses) in the body that are capable of causing disease. The presence of antigens in the body triggers an immune response, usually the production of antibodies.”

     f. Vaccine Nationalism

This is when countries hoard vaccines for their citizens, which could affect distribution to other countries. According to Aljazeera, it occurs when “governments sign agreements with pharmaceutical manufacturers to supply their own populations with vaccines ahead of them becoming available for other countries”. Vaccine nationalism poses a threat to vaccine equity.

     g. Efficacy

Gavi defines efficacy (in relation to vaccines) as “ the degree to which a vaccine prevents disease, and possibly also the transmission, under ideal and controlled circumstances – comparing a vaccinated group with a placebo group.”  In vaccine trials, a group of people receives a vaccine and another group receives a placebo. Vaccine efficacy is calculated by evaluating the number of people in each group that contract the disease that the vaccine is intended to protect against.


 This is the degree of a vaccine’s performance in society.

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