There are a lot of aspects being currently studied regarding the Coronavirus vaccine, and a lot of questions regarding how it works and if the immunity it provides is helping to stop COVID-19 from spreading.
Originally, there were 184 vaccines that reached the preclinical phase of the race; they started to be tested in labs and animals. From all those vaccines, only 14 completed the three initial phases and are currently being offered to the general population, and only 4 reached phase 4, are approved by WHO, and are being monitored in the wider population. Only these last 4 are being used and recommended in the U.S.
You might have already heard from all of them. One of them is Moderna’s vaccine, which is an RNA vaccine and was developed in the U.S.; there is also the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which was developed in Germany and is also an RNA vaccine. This is the most used vaccine in the U.S. There are also Sinovac (Chinese) and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which are also approved.
The World Health Organization and many other entities are still analyzing and understanding how vaccination campaigns are affecting the spread of the disease. WHO talks about “population immunity”, which is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that occurs when a population reaches immunity through vaccination.
For example, for a population to be immune against measles, about 95% of the people would have to be vaccinated for the remaining 5% to be protected by the fact that the disease will not spread anymore. There is not a number yet regarding what percentage of the population would have to get the Coronavirus vaccine to achieve population immunity, for which vaccination campaigns are extremely important at this moment.
According to R.J. Harris, one dose of the Coronavirus vaccine can cut transmission risk in half, and according to a study from The Office for National Statistics and Oxford University, one COVID vaccine cuts infection rate in all groups; they found a strong antibody response in all age categories. After the application of both doses, infections with symptoms fell by 74% while infections with no symptoms fell by 57%. Then why do we still have thousands of new cases every day? (Harris et al., 2021) (BBC, 2021)
According to the New York Times, there are several reasons why the virus is still spreading and vaccination campaigns have not improved the statistics as much as one would hope. Many schools are already opening their doors to students and teachers, and social distancing inside the classroom is not enough to stop the virus from spreading. More and more people are feeling free to stop wearing their masks, to go out to public spaces, and even more, Governments are stopping restrictions on new businesses, restaurants, bars, and many other closed spaces.
We see more and more people every day going back to their normal activities or trying newly opened restaurants. Let’s take California as an example. They were going at an exceptional rate. The number of cases had lowered from around 40,000 cases a day in December and January, 2021, to around 2,900 cases a day in April. But suddenly, they permitted the opening of Disneyland on April the 30th. What do you think is going to happen? And this is just an example.
This is a race: the speed at which vaccination campaigns are distributing vaccines to the people (as fast as they can) vs the speed at which people are being more careless, going out, putting themselves at risk and increasing the rate at which the virus spreads.
If you want to be safe and contribute to the wellbeing of your community, it is best to get vaccinated. Keep in mind that in FORMÉ Medical Center, we have the best team available for you. We have doctors that can explain everything about the vaccine and we are constantly having vaccination campaigns. To learn more about our COVID-19 services or to get information regarding our immunization campaigns, you can give us a call at 914 723 4900.