The British Health Secretary hailed COVID-19 vaccines as “the light at the end of the tunnel.” The world considers the COVID-19 vaccine as the pass to freedom.
-by Dr Rimsha Qasim
Several vaccines are approved for the masses: CanSinoBIO, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer-BioNTech, to name a few. Clinical trials are fast-tracked to get vaccine approval on an essential basis. Priority is given to the healthcare workers and front-liners. In many states, dentists are part of the vaccination teams. Above all, the question arises whether freedom is complete or partial?
Reluctance over COVID-19 vaccine
Any vaccine works as long as people accept it. In addition, myths have swayed people away from the benefits of the vaccine. A survey in December 2020 showed that around 40% of Pakistanis appeared to have reservations regarding the vaccine. The purpose of the vaccine, i.e., to break the transmission chain. This, however, seems far-fetched like this.
Variant strains of the COVID virus
New hyper-virulent COVID-19 variants have made it impossible to achieve herd immunity. These strains may show resistance to the rolled-out vaccines. Thus, creating more hesitancy among people.
The urgency of the situation has a drastic effect. It made possible to develop the COVID-19 vaccine quickly, superseding the fastest Mumps vaccine created earlier. Calculating long-term results takes time. It is unknown whether the vaccines will protect against the severe symptoms of the disease.
Cases in Pakistan are increasing daily, with people violating standard protocols. In other words, they assume they have been immunized forever after a single dose. Those vaccinated cannot suddenly stop wearing masks and disregard social distancing. Consequently, lifelong safety is impossible without herd immunity. It took 200 years to eradicate smallpox through vaccines. Monitoring of data is mandatory for long-term effects.
Long term results
In conclusion, people should follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Large gatherings must wait. Masks are indeed a thing for the foreseeable future. The health and well-being of the people is the priority. Hospitals should not be overburdened. Though some countries have predicted their normalcy times, the WHO chairman says that “Normalcy is years away despite vaccines.”