Dear Editor: I sympathize with Mrs. Myers regarding her recent Letter to the Editor where she addresses inherent issues of pursuing herd immunity and her discomfort with staying home/limiting contact during the pandemic.
She goes on to say that,”until we have assurance a vaccine is safe and we have a chance to have that, I’ll make do with keeping alive,” saying is essence that she will continue to live an isolated life until a vaccine is distributed.
I think, because our nation’s leaders and media have indicated as much, that we may be putting too much stock on there actually being a viable Covid 19 vaccine by 2021.
This is a novel virus and we are still learning about its transmission methods, optimal treatments, long-term effects, etc.
Consider the common influenza virus that comes around every year; Americans have had access to some type of flu vaccine since before WW2 and as such, the science backing the vaccine is quite good and thoroughly researched.
Do you know what the effectiveness of the 2019-2020 influenza vaccine is? It's 45%; I’ll be generous and call it a coin flip as to whether an exposed person goes on to have zero / very mild symptoms or being laid up in bed for several days with typical symptoms. And that’s a virus we have studied for nearly a century; how well do we honestly think we are going to do with a brand new virus?
We are all holding onto this messianic hope that there will in fact be a viable vaccine that is effective. But how effective would it need to be for us to leave our houses with no concern? 25%? 50%? 75%?
I think the answer we all want is 100% though that is so beyond wishful thinking, its whimsical.
My advice is this: Continue to take the precautions the CDC has issued thus far; wear a mask in public, wash your hands, social distance, etc., but don’t stop living your life.
We need to at least be open to the possibility that, should a vaccine fail us, we may be forced to accept herd immunity as the only way to adequately deal with this virus.
And yes, there will probably be more deaths over time as a result but what other options do we have?
Unfortunately, if you aim to keep yourself at home until it is “safe to come out,” I am afraid you may be waiting a very long time indeed.