We have been hearing that the COVID-19 vaccine will mean a return to a normal life. It is right around the corner. It could be here before the Fall Elections. It might even be free!
The big ‘but’ is that vaccines take time to research, develop, test, retest, analyze, retest, distribute, and inoculate. Normally, this process is years – three to five in a shortened format. However, the public, not just the American public, but citizens of the world want a vaccine now!
A month ago, the CDC declared that the earliest for a vaccine in the United States is late Spring or early Summer of 2021. https://wapo.st/34MuM6X. What is happening? We hear (or see) a headline that the vaccine is imminent and then it is not.
Perception is Reality
The ‘on’ again ‘off’ again dialogue is causing the public to question the effectiveness of the vaccine before it is proven. A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that over half taking the poll would not get the vaccine. https://cnn.it/3k2tF9q.
A vaccine works when most of the population is vaccinated. It is like herd immunity. What we are not hearing is how many times we will have to get a vaccination and how effective is that vaccine. Any newly released vaccine has a dismal effectiveness score.
If a vaccine’s effectiveness approached 50% and only 50% of the people were vaccinated, the overall effect would be 25% – far less than is needed for herd immunity or for victory to be declared for any vaccine.
The more effective the vaccine, the sooner we will conquer the coronavirus. The less effective the vaccine, the more times it will have to be given to people to raise the overall immunity level to thwart the future spread of the virus.
What if one of these vaccines is really viable and provides the required protection, we expect to stop the spread of COVID-19? The public will not know until at least a year from now. The rock and the hard place! If it works and we do not use it, then it is like having no vaccine at all.
On the other hand, what if the vaccine is disastrous and people are left with health issues that are worse than normal recovery from the virus? It would have been better for people to take their chances with the virus and hope to be one of the 95% with symptoms treated by self-quarantine.
We do not know what we know and what we do not know. The timing is on the cusp of knowing, but expectations and fear are pushing the pendulum past the point of no return for mass vaccinations – whether this Fall, next Spring, or Summer.
I believe that we are approaching the mid-way of this virus. We will be wearing face masks, washing our hands often, and maintaining social distance for months to come. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02278-5
When a person with no symptoms can infect others for several days before symptoms occur; or worst case, never exhibit symptoms, how do you effectively combat it. It becomes a whack-a-mole problem. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/whack-a-mole.
The longer people are constrained from socializing in public, the longer the virus will infect people willy-nilly. Vaccines will help, but not in the immediate future. My prediction is that it will be the summer of 2022 before any semblance of normalcy is reached in the daily battle with coronavirus.
People can adapt. We have seen that with the face mask requirements and more. Many months ago, only five or ten people at a time were allowed into a store – like post-hurricane scenarios in my neighborhood. Today, when you wear a mask and stay the requisite six feet away from another patron you can shop till you drop. Some businesses even allow you to leave through the same door you entered. Many others still insist upon ‘entry only’ and ‘exit only’ doors.
Some fast-food places only offer drive-through and pick up. Yet, others open their chairs and tables to the ‘older’ style of serving customers inside their establishments. Fear is still pervasive in many levels of management – and maybe it should be! When you do not know, err on the safer side.
Fear and distrust will continue to permeate the view of coronavirus and our lifestyles for at least another couple of years. It will take months or even a year or so to validate the overall effectiveness of a vaccine. If half the people will not get a vaccination, it will take a bit longer to achieve herd immunity to reduce or stop the spread of coronavirus.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com