There’s a lot of ground to cover on the subject we started yesterday, and I don’t want to skip a beat.
So let’s dive right in—and talk some more about why, even if one of the multiple coronavirus vaccines in development works, it still won’t mark the end of this pandemic. And why we’re likely looking at months, if not years, before we can expect to be back to “normal” again…
Mass vaccination is a multi-step process
First, let’s consider the logistics: When any vaccine is first approved, it’s safe to say that supplies are going to be tight. There will probably only be enough supply to treat 10 to 15 million people—and the most vulnerable people will be first in line.
Keeping that in mind, the National Academy of Sciences drafted a plan for fair distribution for an eventual coronavirus vaccine. And it would roll out the vaccine in three different phases.
In the first phase, healthcare workers and first responders would be vaccinated. Then, groups in the highest risk categories, and seniors living in group settings like nursing homes, would be vaccinated.
The second phase would vaccinate essential workers at high exposure risk—like teachers—as well as people with conditions that put them at moderate risk, people who live in crowded environments (like prisons and homeless shelters), and any seniors who didn’t receive a vaccine during phase one.
The third phase would vaccinate the largest cross-section of the population—including kids, who can become infected but are more likely to be asymptomatic, and other essential workers.
Clearly, this isn’t a process that’s going to happen overnight. And that’s without figuring public sentiment into the equation.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that more than one-third of Americans don’t plan on getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available—even if it’s free. And among the other two-thirds who say they will get the vaccine, nearly 75 percent plan to wait at least nine months before pulling the trigger.
This may look like a problem on its face, but to me, it’s just rational thinking—which I personally find quite reassuring. Because it’s important to know the safety and efficacy of anything that’s injected into you. And both are still pretty up in the air at this point.
Major roadblocks to effectiveness
Even if the vaccine is deemed safe, we still don’t know how well any of the shots might work, or for how long that protection might last.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organization (WHO) have both stated that any approved vaccine would have to be at least 50 percent more effective than a placebo. In other words, they’re not seeking a 100 percent effective rate.
So, the vaccine may simply reduce an infection’s severity—but doesn’t necessarily prevent it. Meaning that inoculated Americans could still spread the virus… just like so many people who line up for the flu shot every year.
But there’s still another factor to consider. And that’s the fact that—even if the vaccine were to be 100 percent effective in healthy populations—certain people who get the shot may only receive partial protection, anyway.
We see this obstacle with older people all the time. And as I shared here recently, there’s reason to believe that any potential vaccine won’t work for obese Americans either. Considering how huge and high-risk both of these groups are, I trust I don’t need to point out why that’s a major problem…
Finally, there’s the simple fact that, as long as the virus continues to circulate anywhere in the world, there’s always the risk that a new outbreak will pop up. Meaning, in order to fully eradicate COVID-19, most of the world will need to be vaccinated against it—including populations who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
(There’s an effort called COVAX, which is dedicated to drumming up the funds for this cause. But while 76 of the world’s wealthiest countries have contributed to this fund, the U.S. has yet to chip in.)
The bottom line is: This is a marathon, not a sprint. And while we may develop a vaccine—perhaps even soon—we still require widespread testing, contact tracing, and mandatory quarantines to control the epidemic.
So whatever happens in the months to come, it’s safe to say that our days of social distancing, mask-wearing, and vigilant sanitation are far from over.
P.S. As we continue in the fight against COVID-19, it’s imperative to maintain a healthy immune system. And I outline how to do just that in my Complete Guide for Year-Round Immunity. To learn more, click here now!
“Why A Vaccine Won’t Be a Quick Fix for COVID-19.” WebMD, 09/03/2020. (webmd.com/lung/news/20200903/why-a-vaccine-wont-be-a-quick-fix-for-covid-19)