It has been months since the world was forced into lock down as a result of COVID-19. Economies are falling, families are separated, and people are getting sick. Healthcare professionals are desperate for a cure or effective treatment plan and are constantly running new trials and tests in an effort to find one. However, those without a medical background are left in the dark about the coronavirus vaccine. What are the odds that we find one? And if we do, how long until it can help? Is a vaccine really our best solution?
When it comes to the coronavirus vaccine, researchers aren't starting with a blank canvas. They have years of research on viruses such as SARS and MERS that they can rely on. While normally vaccine development can take years, by being able to rely on research done in the past, the time frame has been cut down dramatically. It is important to note that developing and distributing a vaccine will still take months–if not over a year. But, at the very least we likely won't have to wait half a decade.
The coronavirus vaccine is tricky. Normally, when we give a vaccine it is at a fairly young age-when we are children or babies. However,older adults are who are at the greatest risk with the coronavirus and they generally have a poorer immune response to vaccination. Additionally, no vaccine comes without risk. At this point researchers have yet to find a vaccine that prevents infection entirely and doesn't come with a whole host of possible side effects. Vaccines take a longtime to develop because they need to be tried and tested multiple times on many groups of people.Rushing the process is not always an option, after all releasing an ineffective (or even dangerous)vaccine could be worse than releasing no vaccine at all.
One of the most frustrating parts of this entire process is the lack of assurance. While many researchers are hopeful that they will be able to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, they can never be sure. The truth of the matter is, scientists may never find a cure. Additionally, there's no telling how effective a vaccine will be even if it does get developed. The flu shot is the perfect example of that. While many of the shots we get as babies keep us immune for our entire lives,the flu requires a new shot every year–and even then there is a chance at catching a weaker form of the flu!
Plan of Action
At this point, healthcare professionals are hopeful for a cure, but not solely relying on it. They are urging each country to be prepared to fight against the coronavirus and find new ways to keep the virus from spreading. The fact of the matter is, even if we do discover a cure, it likely won't be available to the public until the middle of 2021.If it is available is smaller quantities, we expect the elderly, high risk people, and health care workers will likely be prioritized in the first round.Countries need to come up with a plan of action and stick to it to the best of their abilities. At the end of the day, the health of our people, our families, and our communities is in our hands.
Everyday sees new developments in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers are conducting studies all over the world and are optimistic to the finding of a cure. That said, one can never be too sure. Make sure that you continue to take all the necessary precautions. Keep washing your hands and social distancing. Remember to wear a mask and avoid crowded areas. Our health needs to be our top priority.