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A Conversation on the Effectiveness of a Vaccine

Will everyone get immunized?

The world is currently buzzing with positivity as good progress has been made with COVID-19 vaccines. To date, not one, but three giant entities have shown efficacy in their vaccine testings.

Oxford University and AstraZeneca recently announced their coronavirus vaccine as 70 percent effective at stopping people from getting sick, and 90 percent effective under one dosing regime. This comes after Pfizer released preliminary data showing its vaccine is 90 percent effective and progressed with reports that their shots are 95 percent effective.

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US biotech company, Moderna also released interim trial data indicating its vaccine effectiveness to be 94.5 percent effective. While experts agree that these results look promising, they also note that there is still a lot we don’t know about how well these vaccines work.

Although we’ve been comforted with good news on the development of the vaccines, many scientists anticipate that, like most other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines will not be 100% effective. According to the World Health Organisation, the impact of COVID-19 vaccines will depend on several factors including the effectiveness of it, how fast they are approved, manufactured, and delivered, and most importantly, how many people will get vaccinated.

As highlighted by a study on Infection Control Today, one of the issues that need to be addressed is whether the public will take that vaccine, even if it’s been approved by local government health departments. A COVID-19 vaccine is a crucial contributor allowing us to get back to some sort of normality because of the herd immunity it would stimulate. But, will the herd follow through? Even a small number of unvaccinated people can make it much easier for a disease to spread and survive. 

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Several polls conducted in the US indicates that a substantial portion of Americans revealed their reluctance to getting a Covid-19 vaccine when it is finally available. Understandably so as vaccines usually take a longer time to develop and to be fully tested before its full potential can manifest itself. 

Although the vaccine isn’t available right now, encouraging people to take it when the time comes should start now. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University suggest that public health campaigns promoting the benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine should start as soon as possible. “Vaccine efforts may need to go beyond just communications campaigns correcting misinformation about a COVID-19 vaccine to also focus on re-establishing public trust in government agencies,” the study states. 

“Groundwork for public acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine, with or without EUA, should be started immediately before a vaccine is approved and becomes available. Such campaigns should address known potential barriers using culturally appropriate messages as well as specifically target social media influencers.”

There is much we don’t know about COVID-19 vaccination and its effectiveness. What we do know is that educating ourselves on what a possible vaccine can do for us, in the long run, should be a priority. While we wait for that time to come, we should continue monitoring our health regularly.

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