When Will Corona Be Over???

A look at how close we are to a vaccine.

Caleigh Russo

 

This year feels like an ongoing bad dream. It seems like a decade ago that we watched the New Year’s ball drop and welcomed in the “Roaring Twenties”, unaware of the chaos they would bring. First, there was the World War III scare, then tragedy struck and Kobe Bryant died. Somewhere in the background, the news was talking about this weird virus all the way across the world, which we shrugged off and said “not our problem”. But then it became our problem. I personally cannot remember anything from the last day of in-person school, other than my anxiousness to take the SATs and my excitement of getting a possible two week break. Of course, this was before anyone took the virus seriously. It’s funny how almost overnight everything changed. This leaves the question, when will the days of mask wearing and social distancing finally be behind us?

Of course, there is no certain answer to this. There is so much false information circling around that it is near impossible to decipher fact from fiction. As we have surpassed 200,000 deaths, things are looking grim and people are wondering when there will be a vaccine. Some sources are saying 2021, while others are saying we could have a vaccine as early as November. Trump’s claim that we will have a vaccine before election day pressures companies to further expedite the vaccine process even if it jeopardizes the health of the consumers.

 As of right now there are 27 vaccines in phase I, 14 vaccines in phase II, 11 in phase III, and 5 that have been approved for limited use. It is important to remember that vaccines usually take years to produce, and that this vaccine is being expedited. Although there are thousands of doctors working strenuously to ensure our safety as consumers, any reasonable person should question a vaccine that is ready too soon. In fact, Dr. Evan from the Emory University School of Medicine says that he is “pretty worried we won’t have a vaccine available for kids by the start of next school year”. It takes such a long time to prepare a vaccine for children because vaccine developers can only test vaccines on children and teenagers if there are no serious side effects from the initial trials. Even after a phase II success, when the vaccine developers are permitted to test on kids, it will take a year until they are ready for distribution. Knowing that we still have a ways to go until the vaccine is ready, the committee that advises the CDC has postponed their meeting about who will get the initial COVID vaccine distribution until October.

Even if a vaccine arrives soon, there is the matter that people are no longer as enthusiastic about the vaccine as they once were. In a study by the Pew Research center, the percentage of people who said they would get the vaccine was 72 in May and dropped to 51 in September. The vaccine will only work if the majority gets it. People who are unvaccinated, which would hypothetically be half of the population, can still spread it to others (regardless of whether they have been vaccinated). Not only is the vaccine going to take a long time to be produced and distributed, but it may not be effective if only half of the population gets it.

If only some are vaccinated, the vaccine will not be nearly as effective.

Although it we have a long time before life goes back to normal, it comforts me to remember that things will be normal eventually. I don’t think it is worth it to rush a vaccine without proper medical analysis of its side effects. Wearing masks everywhere is a small price to pay for the absolute knowledge of this pandemic being behind us. So for now, I am approaching my senior year with super low expectations for a “typical” year.