There are a few psychological, societal and cultural impacts this pandemic has caused which even a vaccine cannot undo. So while we desperately wait for the vaccine to come, experts gear us for the good, bad and ugly that come along with the vaccine.
The first vaccine might not be the best one
Microsoft founder Bill Gates who is now involved in global public health initiatives believes that although we are hopeful for the vaccine to solve a major chunk of our problem, the first one may not be the best one.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Gates said that more effective vaccines will take a little longer to develop and would become available only much later.
The efficacy of the vaccine will still be a question mark
The efficacy of a vaccine determines how well a vaccine works in ideal conditions, like in a randomized controlled trial. It demonstrates how much the vaccine reduces the frequency of illness in a vaccinated versus an unvaccinated population.
So once a vaccine is introduced. we will still have to wait for a couple of more months to observe it’s efficiency. Therefore, the threat of getting infected by the virus will remain despite the availability of the vaccine.
Mass production of the vaccine seems unlikely
The vaccine will only mark the beginning of a long and large scale process of manufacturing and distribution. The demand and supply of vaccines will have to be kept in mind.
From deploying experts amid global travel restrictions to managing extreme storage conditions, and even inventing new kinds of vials and syringes for billions of doses, there is a lot which has to go right till the vaccine can actually start doing it’s job.
India might not be one of the first countries to get a vaccine
There is a debate on how the COVID-19 dosing will be done and who will be amongst the first to get the vaccine. While developed countries across the world are already signing billions of dollars of deals to ensure their supply of coronavirus vaccines, the Indian Government has not signed an agreement with any manufacturing company.
According to health experts across the globe, front line workers, including the health care workers and first responders will be considered first in line to get vaccinated against the highly infectious contagian.
The disease will not just disappear. Social distancing and masks will still be a part of our lives
The vaccine will only create immunity in our bodies to fight against the virus. There is no proof that we will not get infected by the virus.
And there’s a long way before we can go back to our old life without masks, sanitizers and social distancing. These elements will very much be part of the new normal.
One vaccine might not tackle all the mutations of the virus
All viruses mutate as they infect people, and SARS-CoV-2 is no exception. Molecular epidemiologists have used these mutations to trace the global spread of the virus.
Since the nature of the virus is still unfolding, mutations also have the potential to lessen the effectiveness of vaccines, by altering the ability of antibodies and T cells to recognize the pathogen.
Although the vaccine will rectify the major problem of fighting the virus, there will still be a lot of time till we can go back to our old habits such as watching sports together in a stadium, eating out at restaurants, being able to plan a spontaneous trip abroad, etc. Therefore, it is better to be mentally prepared and look ahead at the scenario post the arrival of a vaccine.