New vaccines and significant improvements in the implementation of delivering vaccines have dramatically improved the chances of managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
As an ever-increasing number of us are being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, it’s important to focus on achieving our National goal of herd immunity to protect ourselves and others. In the last few weeks, things have run more effectively than ever, so it’s important to not let a false sense of security allow complacency.
Herd Immunity and COVID-19
For COVID-19 herd immunity, experts still aren’t sure what the threshold will be. The initial estimates of 60% to 70% were too low, although infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci reportedly doesn’t believe this particular virus is as contagious as measles. If that’s the case, we may need between 70% and 95% of people to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
There remain two core limitations to securing the safety of the nation’s population. The first constraint started with the creation of vaccines and now is the mass production of them. The second is the actual vaccination of the population.
It is imperative that the population reach herd immunity levels before the viral mutations adapt, creating variants that can’t be addressed with the current vaccines. The intentional delays of the previous administration hindered the vaccine rollout, but the accelerated implementation efforts in Q1 and Q2 2021 offer some degree hope.
Also, there are now three vaccines for the COVID-19 virus. And the good news is that at lead two of them show reasonable effectiveness against the current variants.
The most recent is the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It was approved on Saturday February 27th and is a major advance both in production capacity and ease of distribution. One of the major advantages is that is doesn’t need to be frozen for transport and requires only one “jab”.
Delivery is of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is already under way.
Curious about these vaccines? Learn more about them!
Challenges to Vaccinating the entire Country
The logistics of producing, transporting, and inoculation are incredible, but it would appear that despite its magnitude, the task is being accomplished, and wherever there are shortcomings, they are being addressed and mitigated.
The real challenge comes from the citizens themselves. There are two situations causing people to choose NOT to be vaccinated. Without these people being properly vaccinated, the nation will not reach her immunity and the COVID-19 pandemic will continue on, with more and stronger mutations occurring.
One population to resist the COVID-19 vaccination has a long history of medical neglect. From the study “The research, which appears in the journal Social Science & Medicine, found that Black people, women, and those with conservative leanings were most likely to refuse vaccination.
Black respondents were 41% less likely to pursue vaccination. That is significant since numerous studies have found that people who are Black, Asian, or from minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to acquire COVID-19 and experience worse clinical outcomes.
This is often due to social, economic, and healthcare inequities experienced by these demographics in the United States and elsewhere.
Medical professionals can do a better job of connecting with these people by helping them to understand the benefits and necessity of the vaccination.
For Doctors: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: 10 tips for talking with Patients
A surprising large group of people have fallen victim to false information spread through social media, and Doctors may have a harder time reaching these people. But in the name of public health, it’s vital that they work hard to do so.
In fact, recent decisions by Governors in Texas, and Mississippi, may soon reverse every positive step the US has made in fighting the pandemic:
“The US is at risk of losing all its recent gains in the battle against Covid-19 as highly contagious variants take advantage of Americans getting lax with safety measures.
“Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director, US Centers for Disease Control
On a very positive note, in an unique partnership between two competitors, the Biden administration is helping to ensure that Merck pharmaceuticals will help their rival Johnson & Johnson boost its vaccine production.
President Biden also said on Tuesday, March 2nd, that the U.S. will produce enough vaccines for every adult in the U.S. by the end of May, while making a fresh push to vaccinate school staff over the next month. “We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May.”
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