COVID-19: Vaccines Part 1 of 3: If Enough Get Vaccinated, Society Can Return to Normal
Columbia University Professor Emeritus, Dr. David Figurski
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
(Disclaimer: The World Health Organization <WHO> has officially named the new coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes as COVID-19. Because the majority of people, including much of the press, commonly refer to the virus as “COVID-19,” to avoid confusion, I use COVID-19 as the name of the virus in this post.)
Vaccination is happening on a large scale in the US. President Biden has said that all adults can be vaccinated by the end of May.
Amazingly, in one year, three vaccines have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). A fourth is ready, and more are close to finishing their clinical trials.
Why get vaccinated?
Everybody knows that you will protect yourself from serious disease, so there will no longer be the risk of hospitalization and/or death.
The amount of virus in the body will be lower (and sooner at zero), so you are less likely to infect a sensitive person.
And there is a major benefit to everyone – most people don’t consider this.
Some people are irrationally worried about the vaccines and will not get vaccinated. This is a problem because vaccination is not just a personal decision. The entire population – vaccinated and unvaccinated – is adversely affected. Let me explain.
When 70-80% of the people become immune, the pandemic will be defeated. (The virus will still be around because the 20-30% who are not immune will allow the virus to stay with us – but in lower amounts. The 70-80% number comes from virologists (including Dr. Fauci) who understand that the population achieves “herd immunity” at that level. Herd immunity will allow us to get back to normal – no lockdowns or self-quarantining, no avoiding contact with other people, no social-distancing, and no masks.
So if we want to get back to normal, we need to achieve herd immunity.
There are two ways to become immune – (1) infection with the virus and (2) vaccination. Infection is iffy and dangerous. Vaccination is guaranteed.
The former President was sometimes influenced by Scott Atlas – a notoriously incompetent COVID-19 Task Force member. Atlas was convinced that the best way to achieve herd immunity was to let everybody get infected. The first problem is the number of deaths that policy would cause. (At a death rate of 1%, infection of the 330 million people in the American population would lead to 3.3 million deaths.) The second problem is that some infections (probably some of the asymptomatic infections) lead to poor immunity that’s not protective. We know that some individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 have no antibodies to the virus. (The “innate” immune system – our first line of defense – was probably good enough.)
Vaccination is guaranteed to provide protective immunity. FDA approval is based on a vaccine’s protective effect in the clinical trial. (The Phase III clinical trial involves ~30,000 people.)
A decision to be vaccinated benefits not only you, but also everyone.
(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)
(Photos compliments of contributor.)
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