Published in El Pais, 19 December 2020.
The COVID vaccine has been created and it is starting to be distributed to countries around the world with the first recipients getting vaccinated in the United Kingdom. While watching the news reporters asked people what they plan on doing once they are vaccinated. The answers were one that you would expect: travel, have a party, see friends etc. It is this reason that has me concerned that the vaccine may have unintended short-term consequences.
The vaccine is certainly a sign of optimism but many seem to think once they are vaccinated, they will become invincible and ignore all the precautions they took before, this despite warnings from health officials saying the true extent of the vaccine will not be known once many have the vaccine, and it may take a while (as much as a year) before most of the population is vaccinated. Questions that need to be answered are, how much protection does it give you? Can you still be an asymptomatic spreader wen vaccinated? Does the immunity wear off? What happens if the virus mutes? Unfortunately, we will not know the answers for some time.
Here in Canada, health officials are saying all vaccinated citizens must continue to follow local restrictions and will not be given any special “immunity privileges”. They are stressing mask wearing will be here for at least a year, social gatherings should be based on the number of cases in your area and not whether or not the people attending have been vaccinated and we should continue to stick to our social bubble until we have been advised otherwise.
The vaccine is good news but its not the silver bullet that many think it is. Until we learn more about the true effects of the vaccine, we need to stay vigilant. Vaccine is a powerful tool in this fight and we need to continue to do our part in order to maximize its effectiveness.