By now, I am sure you have realized that the coronavirus is here to stay and pre-COVID times seem like a sweet dream now. Everyone is just banking their hopes on a COVID vaccine but, the harsh truth is that we are not going to get one for a couple more months at least.
All of us have been anxiously waiting for this pandemic to get over so that we could go back to our normal lives. We have been constantly consoling ourselves and everyone around us, stating that this will be all over once a vaccine arrives.
But, is it so? Will a vaccine work as an aid to all our problems? Will we be able to go back to our normal lives socializing in large groups, touching surfaces on public transport and ditching face masks?
COVID-19 Vaccine And Its Potential
A vaccine is usually given as a shot into the muscle and is intended to introduce a foreign invader in the body. Once such an invader enters our body, our immune system gets activated and the body starts preparing antibodies against these invaders.
These vaccines are usually created with an inactivated or weakened virus or proteins from a virus, etc. They expose the body to a disease-causing virus but without any drawbacks.
We feel elated whenever we come across news of successful trials of a vaccine. Currently, the Russian vaccine ‘Sputnik V’ is making such headlines. So far, the results of only initial trial phases have been made public by its developers. According to them, the vaccine has worked effectively in these phases.
But reports suggest that the central question of whether the vaccine will be able to protect against coronavirus remains unanswered. Russia developed its vaccine quite rapidly and this has raised serious concerns against its efficacy.
So, in the backdrop of such uncertainties, what would life look like on the other side of a COVID vaccine?
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Will We Have To Wear Masks After A COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives?
Maria Elena Bottazi, a vaccine developer at Baylor College of Medicine, said in an interview that vaccines are not going to be a magical solution for COVID-19. According to her, the first vaccine is likely to be only moderately effective even if it clears clinical trials.
So, people banking their hopes on a COVID vaccine to give an immediate solution to all problems are behaving naively. Social distancing measures can not be relaxed even after a successful vaccine.
Various experts believe that although the efficacy of a vaccine cannot be measured precisely unless it is administered to the general public, flu vaccines are generally 40-60% effective.
As the saying goes “Something is better than nothing”, a vaccine which is even 60% effective is definitely desirable at this stage of the pandemic.
Long story short, ditching face masks is a thing of a distant future.
Social Distancing Measures After A COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives
Ever since the COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic, the emphasis has been placed on ‘breaking the chain of infection’. Because that is the only possible way of keeping the number of infected persons under control.
Even after a vaccine arrives, breaking the chain of infection would be pivotal. So far, scientists have not been able to disclose the duration of immunity. So, keeping the uncertainties into consideration, social distancing measures will have to prevail.
Organisations will have to provide work from home opportunities to their employees even after a vaccine arrives. Business meetings and trips would be less frequent compared to pre-COVID times. The new normal would be tech-dependent.
Tommy Moody, a physician-scientist at Duke University said that large gatherings would hardly be witnessed even after the vaccine arrives. People may start socializing but in smaller groups. Recreational activities can also become operational but with new rules.
Sadly and rightly though, life does not seem to be on a way back to normal anytime soon owing to concerns regarding efficacy and distribution of a COVID vaccine.
Image Credits: Google Images, Twitter
Sources: Times of India, The Atlantic, Nature, Hindustan Times
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