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· The authors discuss the potential of a vaccine to help slow the spread of coronavirus, but that potential may be halted by skeptics who refuse the treatment.
· How can science begin to build public trust in a vaccine for this outbreak?
The availability of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus will likely play a key rolein determining when Americans can return to life as usual. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on April 30 announced that a vaccine could even be available by January 2021.
Whether a vaccine can end this pandemic successfully, however, depends on more than its effectiveness at providing immunity against the virus, or how quickly it can be produced in mass quantities. Americans also must choose to receive the vaccine.
According to some estimates, 50% to 70% of Americans would need to develop immunity to COVID-19 – either naturally, or via a vaccine – in order to thwart the spread of the virus. If these estimates are correct, that could mean that nearly twice as many Americans would need to elect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine than those who currently opt to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza. Just 37% of American adults did so in 2017-2018, even in the midst of a historically severe flu season.
Making matters more complicated is the possibility that people who hold skeptical views about vaccine safety – sometimes referred to as “anti-vaxxers” – will not opt to receive the coronavirus vaccine. According to some estimates, about one-fifth to two-fifths of Americans express reservations about vaccine safety. If most of these individuals forego receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, they could potentially jeopardize the recovery process.
Read the full article about a vaccine for COVID-19 by Matt Motta and Kristin Lunz Trujillo at The Conversation.