Article by: Orooba Tasnim Siddiqui
The vaccines have arrived.
Ever since the COVID-19 took the world by storm, reports of scientific endeavors focused on the development of a vaccine for the deadly virus have come from various corners of the globe. As the year 2020 draws to a close, announcements of successful trials by more than one group of researchers are filtering in.
Very well, then: The first generation of vaccines is here. It is time to understand that there is still a need to ascertain the safety and long-term side effects of these vaccines.
Equally, it is time to start worrying about the nuts and bolts of the mass production and distribution infrastructure and financial arrangements required to take one or the other vaccine to every last human being on the planet.
For, to stamp out the virus from the face of the earth, all nations of the world will have to work together to chalk out a plan to produce billions of vaccine doses and facilitate their delivery to every corner of the world.
It is believed that the cycle of the virus can only be broken if 60 to 70 percent of the world population is able to develop immunity against it. The need for introspection into the research particularly evaluating the longevity of its protection cannot be overemphasized. It is vitally important that we figure out how long a round of vaccination affords protection.
Whilst various companies announced successful trials, it is important to pay heed to the fact that not all vaccines may be appropriate for individuals worldwide. With the varying conditions of weather and governance accentuated by the complicated mutations that microbiologists have witnessed in the virus, there may still be complexities that companies must cater to.
As the US and UK move towards the procurement of vaccine doses for their citizens, there is a feeling that developing countries may be at a disadvantage in securing vaccine doses for their citizens in a competitive environment.
One hopes the cutthroat free market competition does not break out this once because unless each and every country across the surface of the globe is given the right amount of vaccines, the risk of the virus staging a comeback will continue to linger.
COVID-19 has shown us that disease in any country is a disease in every country. Suddenly, it is clear that human equality and a common human destiny are more than mere slogans. The challenge now is for the international system to craft and execute a gargantuan solution, a great collective heave-ho to cover every region, every country across the world without discrimination.
Can the leaders of the world rise to the occasion and do the needful remains to be seen?
If they do, humankind will have found a working model for beating back common enemies like poverty, hunger, poor health & education, and discrimination that have plagued us for millennia. And COVID-19 will rightly be remembered as the greatest equalizer of human history.
- 95% efficacy
- Given in two doses, three weeks apart
- Stored at -70 degree Celsius
Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine
- 90% efficacy
- Given in two doses
- Does not need very cold storage Moderna vaccine
- Protects 94.5% of people
- Given in two doses, four weeks apart
- Stored at -20 degree Celsius