The Coronavirus Vaccine, What Does It Mean?
What the coronavirus vaccine could mean for our community, a perspective by TEDxYouth@Berwyn speaker and cofounder of the Wellness Project, Liam McKenna.
In today's ever-changing world, it is crucial to be able to separate fact from fiction when making decisions about the health of yourself and your family. We have all heard about promises for a vaccine and herd immunity to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but what does that mean?
Ever since the first vaccine was developed in 1796 to combat smallpox, the medical world has been developing faster and more effective ways of treating viral diseases. The current most effective vaccines include the polio vaccine, with almost a 100% efficacy, and the measles vaccine, with a 96% efficacy. These vaccines took years to develop and perfect. However, with new vaccine protocols, medical experts such as Dr. Fauci hope for an effective vaccine by the beginning of 2021. The development of this vaccine would set records, shattering the typical ten year wait for most vaccines. With the speed that this vaccine is being created, Fauci states he would settle for 70-75% effectiveness. Even though it does not guarantee immunity, the same way the influenza vaccine does not, taking the vaccine when made available is an essential step to stopping the spread of this virus.
To ensure the vaccine that is developed is safe, there are many safeguards put in place by the government and researchers to protect the patient. There are six stages of vaccine development: exploratory phase, pre-clinical, clinical development, regulatory review, manufacturing, and quality control. These steps ensure that the vaccine is thoroughly vetted before it is made available to the general public.
Even though the vaccine will hopefully be completed by 2021, there is still a lot that can be done to slow the spread now. With schools now being recommended to reopen by the American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC guidelines for reopening schools are more important than ever. The most significant recommendations that would disrupt the functioning of a school day include closing all public spaces and reducing exposure to new students by minimizing class rotations throughout the day. As impossible as some of these recommendations might seem, the CDC promises to work with each school district to ensure safety protocols that work for the community.
An effective vaccine might seem like a ways away, but it is important to continue wearing a mask and social distancing. Following government recommendations and eventually getting the vaccine when made available will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.