I’m putting my hope in vaccines because they’re the best way I know to protect the people I love.

I’m a pharmacist and I work in vaccine medical affairs in Africa – which means I’m responsible for helping prepare countries across Africa for COVID-19 vaccines. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines matters to me not only on a professional level but also on a personal level.

My brother and his wife both have cancer and are a high-risk group, which makes this pandemic a huge challenge for them. It has been terribly worrying for me and my family, especially for my mum who is 91. She lives with my sister and she’s generally in good health, but to protect her we’ve had to isolate her. She’s normally full of energy, but I’ve seen her really suffer with the isolation. It’s hard for us all to watch this happen, and to have to keep limiting the things that my mum wants to do.

Of course, working from home for nine months has also got to me. I’m a runner, and it’s been really hard during full lockdown to stay put, because I run for my mental health. I even ran around my house during the first lockdown, just to keep active.

I’m putting my hope in the vaccines because they’re the best way to protect the people I love. We know vaccines build our immunity to the virus and will greatly reduce our risk of getting sick. We also hope they will help reduce the spread of the virus.

At the end of the day, we’re not going to take any shortcuts around the development of vaccines: I want them to protect all of us, including my family.

My colleagues and I have put in extra hours and worked exceptionally hard so that we can help advance the science. We are meticulous in what we do, following all the same protocols we would usually follow for any vaccine development. We consult experts in everything we do. We always double and triple check our results. And we believe in transparency when it comes to the development of vaccines.

I know that by getting vaccinated when the time comes, we’ll not only protect ourselves, we’ll also help those who are at risk and suffering from other diseases.

Abeda, Africa