- There is damage to something that is going on and that is called inflammation
- It is easier to get infected and harder to fight the disease in full so whatever it is has a greater chance to multiply and overwhelm the system
Your immune system prevents disease from being severe. For example, when you start producing mucus and sneezing, that is your immune system fighting off the cold virus.
Your immune system has two parts. The first is immediate, which happens within the first 48 hours. If whatever is bothering you is not a very big dose then your immune system sorts it out, basically kills or isolates whatever was attacking you.
The next one comes 14-21 days afterwards and is specific to whatever attacked you; so now you get a specific response to that thing.
If you have an underlying condition, there is always inflammation. There is damage to something that is going on and that is called inflammation.
Your immune system is responding to other things, the disease itself, and so it doesn’t have the full power to act on this new thing.
It is easier to get infected and harder to fight the disease in full so whatever it is has a greater chance to multiply and overwhelm the system.
On the inclusion of people with underlying medical conditions in phase one of the vaccination programme as opposed to phase two as had earlier been planned, the phases were always going to overlap.
The initial emphasis on health workers was that you want the person who is giving the vaccine to also have been vaccinated and to have been properly trained.
Remember that the vaccine itself tends to be safe, the problem tends to be if the training is inadequate in terms of how it is administered.
So it is a good idea to give it to those who are most vulnerable to severe disease at the start.
The vaccine is being given to health workers because they are in hospital where there is a lot of disease. Not only do you want to protect them but to also make sure that they do not spread it to patients who are vulnerable.
Director, Science & Technology Park, and senior lecturer, School of Public Health, University of Nairobi