The Pfizer announcement has renewed hope that the new normal will soon be lifted. Meanwhile, Oxford University says its own vaccine might be ready before the end of the year. What will this mean for 2021? Can we go back to our lives before the pandemic, or are masks and social distancing here to stay?
A vaccine will not erase the changes to our daily livesShow moreShow less
A COVID-19 vaccine will certainly help us rebuild our economy and autonomy. But some of the changes we've seen this year may be permanent.
With a vaccine on the way, governments concerns now turn to who will get it first. Bidding for the new vaccine will likely put many poorer nations, and those with less influence, at a disadvantage.
Trump has already contacted companies in Germany who are developing a vaccine. His aim was to buy exclusive access to the vaccine they are developing. Every nation will need doses of a vaccine in the near future, and this move was seen extremely unfavourably in Europe. German politicians have been outspoken about their disapproval, claiming that no country should be permitted to buy exclusive access to a vaccine.
But even once a nation has the vaccine, there will be difficulty of distribution. Who gets the vaccine first? How do we administer it? The British manufacturer AstraZeneca has agreed to supply 100 million does to the UK. They are also looking to supply up to 2 billion doses globally.
Governments all across the globe are preparing to implement what will likely be the largest ever vaccination campaign. This will require hiring large numbers of medical staff, strict timetables and additional facilities to cope with the large numbers of people coming to receive an injection.
Talk of a vaccine has also seen backlash from anti-vaxxer communities. In 2019, their campaigns and reluctance to receive necessary injections lead to the largest measles outbreak in the US seen in a generation. Now, their discourse targets a COVID-19 vaccine. In May, a survey found that 23% of Americans do not want to receive this vaccine. This is troubling news. In order to stop the epidemic and return to some semblance of normality, we will all need to cooperate and this vaccine will be the best first step.
Governments have been planning this eventuality for months now. There are plans in place and the WHO has strategies it has implemented previously, though at smaller scales. Furthermore, the UK government is trialing a city wide COVID-19 test in Liverpool. This mass scale testing will likely bring to light problems they may encounter with mass scale vaccination.