Boris Mendelevich: “I have already been vaccinated, passed both phases — I'm feeling good”

Information about coronavirus vaccinations from a deputy who has already been vaccinated

Boris Mendelevich: “I have already been vaccinated, passed both phases — I'm feeling good”

Mass vaccination against the new coronavirus has started in Russia. Doctor of Medical Sciences, State Duma Deputy from Tatarstan Boris Mendelevich has already been vaccinated. In his author's column for Realnoe Vremya, he talks about the rules of this medical procedure, popular myths about it and expresses his opinion about why it is still desirable to get vaccinated.

Vaccine — what is it?

Before writing about vaccinations and vaccines, I suggest that you immediately define the terms. This will help us understand each other faster and eliminate misinterpretations.

So, a vaccine is a medical product that contains pathogens (or fragments of them, or fragments of their genome) processed by a special technology, against which it is planned to create immunity. Two coronavirus vaccines are currently being used in Russia — Sputnik V and EpiVacCorona.

Vaccination (inoculation) — the introduction of a vaccine into the human body, after which it ceases to be susceptible to the corresponding disease. In other words, vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. This is how we managed to prevent the spread of smallpox, measles and many other terrible diseases. We have already discussed this on the pages of Realnoe Vremya.

As a rule, most vaccines are administered intramuscularly — an injection is made. But some vaccines (for example, against typhoid) are given in the mouth in the form of a few drops. There are vaccines that are administered by a syringe subcutaneously or intradermally (these are all different injections), there is an aerosol type of administration.

Photo: nso.ru
In other words, vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent infectious diseases

How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine enters the human body and promotes the development of antibodies — protective elements of the immune system that are responsible for fighting a specific pathogen, fighting against a specific virus or bacterium. As a result, antibodies either prevent the occurrence of the disease or reduce the likelihood of its severe consequences.

That is, the immune system “remembers” the antigens of pathogens that are administered together with the vaccine. After meeting such pathogens later, it will recognise them and try to destroy them “on the approach”, before they even have time to penetrate into living cells. But we must understand that antibodies fight viruses that have already entered the body. This means that it is a mistake to assume that a person vaccinated, for example, against COVID-19 will not get a coronavirus infection. But vaccination reduces the likelihood of complications and death many times, and the disease in this case is likely to pass in a mild form.

And this does not mean that vaccination will allow us to cancel masks. The other day, one of the heads of regions of Russia suggested that vaccinated residents should be given badges and allowed not to wear masks. Personally, I do not agree with this proposal. In my opinion, the initiative itself is discriminatory: labelling people has never ended well. In the end, what did people who have a medical exemption from vaccinations do? Probably, “Covid-19 passports” or any other documents can be methods of popularising vaccination. But they should not be the only authorisation document, for example, for unhindered visits to restaurants or international travel.

Another important role of vaccination is the formation of collective immunity, which, for example, is not yet available for COVID-19. That is, when a large part of the population is vaccinated, the infection ceases to spread and new cases of infection become less and less. This is necessary, in particular, to protect people who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons.

Photo: Ilya Repin
That is, when a large part of the population is vaccinated, the infection ceases to spread and new cases of infection become less and less. This is necessary, in particular, to protect people who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons

Who should not be vaccinated

Any medical procedure has regulations that must be followed by doctors. I will note the main thing: vaccination in our country is a voluntary matter. Each person, having weighed all the pros and cons, must make an independent decision about whether to go for vaccination or not — for himself and for his or her children. Those of you who have children know that before getting vaccinated in kindergartens and schools, parents (guardians) are asked for written consent. If it is not there — the child will not be vaccinated.

The desire to be vaccinated alone is not enough. Before the procedure, the doctor must assess whether you are healthy or not. And if there are contraindications — the vaccination should be delayed. For example, among the reasons for medical exemption is the presence of acute infectious and non-communicable diseases. If right now a person has a chronic disease (for example, pyelonephritis), then they can't get vaccinated that moment. People with mild forms of viral respiratory infections and acute infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are allowed to be vaccinated — but only if there is no fever.

Also, the people who cannot be vaccinated includes patients with primary immunodeficiency, with malignant blood diseases and neoplasms, pregnant and lactating women, people who have hypersensitivity to the components of the vaccine. Children under the age of 18 are not yet vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine.

Photo: nso.ru
There are two officially registered vaccines in our country — you can choose the one you trust

Features of the procedure

The vaccine against COVID-19 Sputnik V is injected in two stages. The reason is following. The thing is that the coronavirus protein (which causes the production of antibodies) in this vaccine is “planted” on a kind of carrier. In its role is a safe virus for humans, one of the numerous family of adenoviruses. The problem is that at some point your immune system may have already encountered this adenovirus and developed a protective response to it. And if this is the case, then the adenovirus “carrier” along with its valuable coronavirus “cargo” simply will not pass through the body's protective filters, and immunity to the coronavirus will not be formed. But in this case, scientists from the Gamaleya Institute have provided a two-phase vaccine. The second part of the vaccination, which is done 21 days after the first, is arranged in the same way, but only another adenovirus, more rare, is used as a carrier. The probability that your body is already familiar with both “transporters” is vanishingly small. This means that the desired antibodies to the coronavirus will be formed for sure.

I have already been vaccinated, passed both phases — I'm feeling good, no side effects have occurred. But everyone's body is different. Someone talks about a short increase in temperature, someone had a sore and swollen place of vaccination. This is normal: this reaction can occur on any vaccine. It is short-lived and passes quickly. Besdies, there are two officially registered vaccines in our country — you can choose the one you trust.

Another point is that the vaccination of Russians takes place within the framework of the national calendar. This is a special document that specifies the timing and types of vaccinations. All vaccines included in it are made completely free of charge in medical institutions that serve citizens under the state guarantee programme. As a rule, these are the polyclinics to which people are attached.

Photo: rt.rbc.ru
Another point is that the vaccination of Russians takes place within the framework of the national calendar

Vaccination and myths

Now we can say that the world is divided into two main camps. The first one is very much waiting for the vaccine and will be vaccinated. The second believes that everything will be fine without a vaccine, and vaccinations are harmful and dangerous.

Personally, as a doctor and as a scientist, I am of the opinion that vaccines are necessary. At the same time, it is very important that the vaccination procedure is carried out in accordance with all the rules. I will answer here the most popular questions about vaccinations that people ask me, for example, in social networks or during the reception of citizens.

  • The first one is about the danger of the vaccine and its too fast certification.

    The safety of certified vaccines is proven. And besides, accelerated certification is not an out-of-the-ordinary protocol. Legislative mechanisms for this have been in place in Russia for a very long time. Besides, look at the West: their vaccines also went into production very quickly, and they were certified according to approximately the same scenario as our two. In addition, there are a number of requirements that manufacturers are required to comply with. No certified vaccine produced in case of non-compliance with these requirements must enter the market. For a moment, I will note: for some reason, some people take antibiotics uncontrollably, and this can cause more harm to the body than timely vaccination. At the same time, numerous surveys have shown that almost half of Russians still believe that viruses can be cured with antibiotics. This is a serious misconception!
  • The second is that science does not keep up with the viruses that mutate every year.

    On the example of influenza vaccination, it is proved that scientists successfully survive the “race” for virus mutations every year, creating vaccines that protect against new strains. The vaccine creation is not a job done from scratch. Therefore, it is possible to quickly and effectively upgrade the drug for more and more new strains of the disease.
  • The third — vaccination is harmful in general, it causes autism.

    This is complete and utter nonsense. As a doctor who specialised in psychology, I can say that there is only one article that tried to link autism and vaccination. It was published more than 20 years ago. And after a while, its author was caught in the manipulation of facts — he was guided by personal selfish motives. Over the past 20 years, it has been repeatedly proven that vaccination does not affect the development of autism in any way.

In short, that's all. I hope that everyone, based on rational arguments, will make the right decision for themselves in this matter!

By Boris Mendelevich
Tatarstan