North Texas Daily

The COVID-19 vaccine is not a magical cure-all

The COVID-19 vaccine is not a magical cure-all

The COVID-19 vaccine is not a magical cure-all
February 24
11:04 2021

After months of experimental therapies and medical trials, the COVID-19 vaccine is finally a thing of reality. It is surreal to know there are people out there who have gotten both doses of the vaccine, basically waiting for us in the finish line to catch up. Though the (hopefully) successful effects of the vaccine will put a dent into the virus’s impact, it is a fool’s errand to think it will singlehandedly bring the world back to normalcy.

Vaccines historically take years worth of development, testing and legal proceedings before they meet the light of day. To have the COVID-19 vaccine available to even select members of the public is a true achievement of modern science.

That being said, the vaccine is never going to be the instant solution many are hoping it to be. Cases have been alarmingly high throughout the winter and distribution is currently focused on the elderly and healthcare workers. The vaccine is also a series of two doses set three or four weeks apart depending on the manufacturer.

Then one needs to consider how long it takes for the vaccine to properly work. All vaccines take at least two weeks to kick in and for the body’s immune system to develop a proper antibody response, according to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Mathematically speaking, it will take about six to eight weeks to truly benefit from the vaccine’s effects.

Eventually, distribution and the rollouts of the vaccine will get smoother. Like a tech launch or new video game release, the process is never going to be perfect the first go-round. Health care works and officials will only improve the vaccination process to accommodate a near-unanimous demand for it. President Biden has announced 200 million more doses are set to come in by the end of July, which would cover a large percentage of the American population.

We can’t properly achieve herd immunity until the majority of the public gets vaccinated and the vaccine properly kicks in. Measles, mumps and polio, all sicknesses that were commonplace in the U.S., are rarely seen because of established herd immunity. Although flu season is still a regular occurrence, the flu shot drastically lowers the likelihood of getting sick and there are prescription medications that can readily help your body combat it. Through medical breakthroughs, viruses and sicknesses that were once death sentences have now become rare. To even have a chance in doing the same for COVID-19, the pastimes of social distancing and wearing a mask have to be enforced.

At this point, talking about taking precautions to minimize the spread of the virus can sound like preaching to the choir, especially for long-time readers of the Daily. Putting baseless conspiracy theories aside, social distancing and wearing a mask are proven ways to minimize the biological blast radius of the virus. Talk of vaccines or minimizing the spread of the virus should not be a political issue. Admittedly, this is an extremely new vaccine with a historically accelerated development process.  Through the sludge of speculation and misinformation, there is an undisputed truth: this vaccine will begin to make things better – “begin” being the operative word.

Even though the light at the end of the tunnel is now closer than ever, we still need to be vigilant in practicing social distancing and wearing a mask while in public. The COVID-19 vaccine, while an unprecedented feat in modern science, is not an instant substitute for taking the necessary precautions many of us have been doing for the last year. It is not even the mythical cure-all that many hope it to be. If the past year has taught us anything, it is that hope and science seldom go hand in hand. There’s a high likelihood we’ll never retain the normalcy we had before the pandemic. Whatever the new norm will be, it will sooner be achieved if we keep doing our part in keeping ourselves and loved ones safe.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Kevin Diaz

Kevin Diaz

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