By Annika Henthorn
COVID-19 has drastically flipped our way of life upside down. Concerts with thousands of people and going to grocery stores without a mask have seemed like a crazy thing of the past. Society has quickly adapted to the new norm, hoping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and return to normal. This has become increasingly more possible through the distribution of the vaccine.
As of April 15, ages 16 and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine. The growing accessibility of the vaccine has allowed for life to gradually return to what we once thought was normal. Gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places have begun to open their doors to customers. According to Los Angeles Times, approximately 43% of Californians have at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 25,982,377 doses have been administered. Experts have revealed that in order for the pandemic to be deemed “under control,” at least 85% of Americans will need to be vaccinated. Although this seems like a difficult feat, as more people become eligible to receive the vaccine, this goal becomes significantly more probable.
Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla, has revealed that the Pfizer vaccine will likely need a booster dose within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated, according to CNBC. Variants will play a huge role in how often these are required. Johnson and Johnson CEO, John Gorsky told CNBC that people might need to get vaccinated annually like a flu shot. It is unclear as to how long immunity can be sustained. Therefore, in order to “suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” according to Bourla, it could be essential to get vaccinated annually.
The Pfizer vaccine has been proven to be 91% effective in protecting against COVID-19. This data has been verified through 12,000 vaccinated participants, according to CNBC. Researchers have confirmed that more time and information is needed to prove whether the vaccine remains effective and immunity can be sustained after six months. David Kessler, the Biden administration’s Covid response chief science officer, has also affirmed that people should expect a booster dose in the future to preserve one’s immunity. Not only has Pfizer begun research on a third dose, but CEO of Moderna, Stephane Bancel told CNBC on Wednesday that they are hoping to release a booster dose by the fall.
Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johsnson are working tirelessly to develop vaccines that will propel society back into normalcy. The light at the end of this atrocious tunnel seems to shine a little brighter as each day passes. However, only time can tell, as data and long-term research is limited.
Melanie Moyer '22,