Perspectives: How Long Will The Vaccine Protect Us?; Parents Need Clear Advice Regarding Covid And Kids
Opinion writers weigh in on these Covid and vaccine issues.
Los Angeles Times:
Can The COVID-19 Vaccines Keep Us Safe Over The Long Term?
Imagine that it is 2023 or 2025, and protection from our COVID-19 vaccines is starting to wane or mutant virus strains are evading the vaccines. Can we realistically expect the entire populace to line up again in stadiums and parking lots to get a shot? The rapid development of effective vaccines has been worthy of celebration. But we’re now facing a major practical question: How long will the vaccines work and can the immunity provided so far defend against new viral variants? The answer will depend on the quality of immune memory that the vaccines can produce. (Marc Hellerstein, 5/23)
What Parents Need To Hear From The CDC
Parents of young children have some pressing questions for the CDC. In recent guidance, the public-health agency suggested that fully vaccinated individuals can burn their masks and never wear a face covering again. (I’m exaggerating. Masks are still required on public transit and in medical facilities, among other places.) Meanwhile, unvaccinated people should continue to mask inside as well as at crowded outdoor venues. The sound scientific basis for these recommendations is that the vaccines are excellent, work well against the new variants, and seem to protect against even asymptomatic disease and transmission. Vaccinated people are quite safe from COVID-19, the odd breakthrough case notwithstanding. Many states have accordingly dropped their mandates. You can now shop unmasked in the Providence, Rhode Island, Whole Foods near where I live (though practically no one does). (Emily Oster, 5/21)
Dallas Morning News:
Vaccinating Kids Is How We Get Back To Normal. Schools Must Play A Starring Role
As more people get vaccinated, we’re dipping our toes into normalcy, and oh, it’s exhilarating. Many of us are finally gathering for family birthdays and scheduling lunch dates with friends we haven’t seen in months. Some of us are plotting our return to the office. But for many young children and their families, “normal” is still on pause. Children under age 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and federal authorities estimate these kids will have to wait until late fall or early 2022 to get shots. (5/23)
One Big Question About The End Of Covid-19
After eight months of rigorous consultation and research, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness Response, co-chaired by Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, has issued our final report, COVID-19: Make It the Last Pandemic. The title deliberately begs the question: can this be the last time a disease causes this degree of global loss, suffering and death? We believe the answer is yes, if our package of recommendations is adopted. (Mark Dybul, 5/23)
The Vaccine Rollout Is Succeeding, But We Haven't Beaten Covid Yet
The U.S. was woefully, heartbreakingly slow to respond to the dangers of Covid-19 in the early days of the pandemic. But it has been an early leader in the race to get vaccines to as many of its residents as possible: More than 280 million doses have been administered this year, granting more than 40% of Americans protection from the virus — and the freedom to drop their masks. Still, many say they won’t be lining up for shots, and vaccine hesitancy will only prolong the pain. The U.S. can, however, do a lot to promote vaccination both at home and abroad, with the help of science, economics and a few hefty nudges. (Brooke Sample, 5/23)
The New York Times:
I’m A Vaccinated Transplant Recipient. I Don’t Have Antibodies. Now What?
“When can we meet?” As more people are vaccinated, my inbox grows ever more hopeful. Emails from conference organizers, employers, friends, family and businesses promise that we will soon “get back to normal” and put the dark shadow of the pandemic behind us. Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that masks are no longer necessary for the vaccinated, the spring has brought with it an optimistic news cycle that eagerly anticipates the post-Covid world. What is receiving considerably less attention, however, is that not everyone who is vaccinated will develop antibodies, and many of those who don’t are at high risk for the most severe consequences of Covid-19. As a kidney transplant recipient, I am one of those people. (Candida Moss, 5/24)
The New York Times:
This Is The Wrong Way To Distribute Badly Needed Vaccines
A global alliance to assure poor and moderate income countries “equitable access” to Covid vaccines is shortchanging nations in desperate need, while providing vaccines to others that have comparatively few cases or lack the ability to distribute them. Leaders of the effort, known as Covax, argue that vaccines initially should be allocated proportionally by population. But this approach is ethically wrong. Priority should be given to countries being hit hardest by Covid-19 or those likely to be hit soon and capable of distributing and administering the vaccines they receive. (Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Govind Persad, 5/24)