Rapid COVID-19 vaccination is the key to faster relaxation of pandemic restrictions – this is a fact. The faster we administer vaccines, the easier it would be to create herd immunity within communities. Many countries have already started to vaccinate their citizens in hopes of finally stomping out the coronavirus for good. However, this may not be the case.
The current vaccine rollout has made society more relaxed about the current pandemic. People are now more comfortable going out of their homes. Some of them are not even wearing face masks to protect themselves. Restrictions have been eased and many people are out and about. However, it may be too early to do this as only a small percentage of the population is vaccinated. This rapid easing of restrictions and slow vaccine rollout is sure to affect everyone.
The reality: THE VIRUS IS MUTATING
One fact that we now know is that the coronavirus is mutating. Currently, there are a few new strains of the virus that are mutating in different parts of the world. Each strain, albeit produces the same symptoms, performs differently compared to each other. For instance, there are differences in threat levels, communicability, and even mortality. The slower we work on the vaccine rollout, we might reach a point where the existing mutated strain is immune to all approved vaccines.
There is some evidence that not all existing vaccines work on all current variants of COVID-19. Just recently, South Africa has suspended the use of Astrazeneca vaccines because it seems ineffective to the current variant prevalent in the country.
Richer countries need to help others falling behind
Currently, richer countries have more access to vaccines leaving developing countries with minimal access. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to meet the demands to make sure that initial orders are met. However, the waiting list for countries with difficulty paying may take years. There is no sense to make sure that 100% of a rich country’s population is vaccinated when new mutants can be produced in countries with minimal vaccinations.
A never-ending cycle?
Public health officials do warn that if many parts of the world remain unvaccinated, there will be a continuous spread of the virus. Not only that, a slow vaccine rollout provides an opportunity for the virus to generate mutations leading to more confirmed cases, and deaths. Many countries are now either on their second or third wave of local infections, each wave more severe than the first. Lockdowns are still prevalent even though many people are already vaccinated.