Humans and Health

Why You Should Get Vaccinated

Photo of bottles of the COVID-19 vaccine on a table
Jamey Heron-Waterhouse

Some of you may be wondering, why are vaccines still being advertised to me when I’m already vaccinated? And others may be wondering why vaccines are still being advertised when you have already decided against them. In this article I hope to provide some more information on the vaccines to rid anyone of any fear surrounding getting vaccinated and hopefully make those of you who have them more aware of how important they are.

How do we get ill?

According to the British Society for Immunology when you are ill it means that a disease-causing agent, such as virus or bacteria has entered your body. As a response, your body may create large proteins called antibodies. Each antibody is tailored to fight off a specific type of bacteria or virus in your body, this is why a flu jab will not work for immunising yourself against the coronavirus, because the flu virus does not require the same antibodies as COVID-19. Even if you have had COVID-19 you still need to get the vaccine.

Spikevax does not contain the virus therefore it cannot give you COVID-19

What is a vaccine and how does it work?

A vaccine, in layman’s terms, is usually a substance that causes the production of antibodies, sometimes this is a small ‘bit’ of the virus, mixed with stabilising ‘ingredients’ that are safe for the body. The amount of the virus in the vaccine is not enough to make you ill but is enough to trigger an immune response that causes your body to create the antibodies needed to fight off the virus.

Types of vaccine:

Spikevax, formerly Moderna: Spikevax does not contain the virus therefore it cannot give you COVID-19. What it does contain is mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) which essentially tells the body to produce ‘spike proteins’ which are proteins that are similar to those of the coronavirus, which then causes the body to create antibodies against this type of virus.

Oxford/AstraZeneca: The AstraZeneca vaccine contains a ‘weakened adenovirus’ (Adenoviruses are groups of viruses that commonly cause respiratory diseases, like bronchitis). This adenovirus is ‘weakened’, meaning it will not cause any harm to the person being vaccinated, but will cause the body to create the necessary spike proteins, which will then cause the production of antibodies that can fight off COVID-19.

In my experience the symptoms of COVID-19 are much worse than those of the vaccine

Pfizer/BioNTech: The Pfizer vaccine contains a similar mRNA that the Spikevax has in that it tells the body to produce the spike proteins that cause the production of the effective antibodies. The rest of the ingredients are classified as lipids (fats) and salts and sugars, things our bodies are well equipped to breakdown.

A detailed list of the ingredients and more information on each vaccine is available at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines – NHS (

Though the vaccines can cause side effects, and that can be frightening and may deter you from choosing to get the vaccine, the side effects of the vaccines are not guaranteed to affect you. As someone who has had COVID-19 myself, I am able to truthfully say that in my experience the symptoms of COVID-19 are much worse than those of the vaccine and I would urge those of you who aren’t to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others.

Why get vaccinated?

Not only does getting vaccinated equip your body with the essential antibodies to fight off the coronavirus in the case that you do catch it but it also allows you to contribute to herd immunity. Herd immunity is when, in a community, more people get vaccinated, meaning less people are able to transfer and spread the disease amongst themselves.

This then helps people who are unable to get vaccinated, like young children for example, as it reduces the amount of people that can spread it. Therefore, by getting the vaccine you are protecting those who are vulnerable.

Can vaccines give you autism?

In short, no. The study that suggested that vaccines can give you autism was carried out by Andrew Wakefield, MD, who, in a study of 12 patients in 1998, claimed to find a link between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) and autism. However, this link was studied extensively over the next few years and no evidence that supported Wakefield’s claim was uncovered. Many reputable studies have found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Wakefield’s study was described as “fatally flawed” and it was later revealed that he had been paid by attorneys who were aiming to file a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers to publish the research. The Lancet, the publication that the research was originally published in, later formally retracted the paper.

So, whether you are vaccinated or not, I hope that this article has shed some light on vaccines, busted some myths about them and overall spread awareness about why you should get vaccinated.

Find your local vaccination site here:

Jamey Heron-Waterhouse

Featured Photo by Daniel Schludi from Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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