Illustration by Andrew Lam

COVID-19 vaccine alone will not stop coronavirus

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Since COVID-19 became a worldwide threat, scientists have been working toward developing a vaccine in the hopes of ending the pandemic. Considering the fact that it is being developed under an accelerated process, the vaccine will not provide as much immunity as scientists anticipate, reminding us that the existence of a vaccine does not mean the pandemic is eradicated. 

By fast-tracking the typical process of creating a vaccine, scientists are sacrificing true long-lasting immunity for urgency. Scientists have only been developing the vaccine for six months, and they have already begun human trials. Realistically, it takes 12 to 18 months or longer to develop a vaccine and test it in human clinical trials. In the past, due to poor initial development, trials for some COVID-19 vaccines have been halted. It is possible that trials may end abruptly and scientists would have to start from scratch again, and the protection granted will be limited. Constantly starting from scratch wastes time, which puts greater pressure on scientists to release a vaccine. 

The effectiveness of masks outweighs the impotence of the vaccine. According to Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a mask is the most important way to combat the coronavirus. Masks have already been proven effective, so one cannot take the risk of not wearing them despite being vaccinated. Even if a vaccine is available for the general public, because of its ineffectiveness, continued use of masks in public is a must. The effectiveness of masks is more effective than the ineffectiveness of the vaccine. 

Many are also under the impression that the release of a COVID-19 vaccine is a greenlight to return to pre-pandemic times. People would take this as a sign that they no longer need to adhere to pandemic protocols. However, these measures have proven effective as they were recommended by the CDC. Also, since COVID-19 is mainly spread through close contact, social distancing reduces the chance of someone contracting the virus. If a vaccine is going to make people go into situations where they are not social distancing, then the vaccine should at least be effective, which it is not. 

Knowing that the vaccine is undergoing a quickened process, which could affect the vaccine’s overall effectiveness, it is essential that people continue to practice social distancing and maintain good sanitation habits. Even under the hastened process, a vaccine for COVID-19 may not be made available to the general public until 2021, which makes adhering to CDC guidelines a great necessity.

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