- CDC director Robert Redfield recently said that mask-wearing is more effective at preventing the coronavirus than a vaccine.
- Dr. Fauci previously said that the FDA would approve a coronavirus vaccine even if it only worked 50% of the time.
- It’s also possible that a coronavirus vaccine would require individuals to take two doses.
With the U.S. still struggling to get the daily number of new coronavirus cases down to an acceptable level, many people are hopeful that a coronavirus vaccine will finally allow the country to move past the pandemic. A vaccine, however, may not be the cure-all some people have been led to believe.
For starters, it’s possible that an FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine could only be 50% to 60% effective.
“You’ve got to think of the vaccine as a tool to be able to get the pandemic to no longer be a pandemic,” Dr. Anthony Fauci explained last month, “but to be something that’s well controlled.”
Second, even in a scenario where an effective coronavirus vaccine is developed, it remains unclear how long it would take to administer it to populations across the globe. While some have speculated that everyone in need of vaccination would get one by the end of 2022, the Serum Institute — the world’s largest vaccine maker — recently said we might not have enough vaccines to distribute to the global population until 2024.
“It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla recently said.
So, what do we do in the interim?
Well, CDC director Robert Redfield recently articulated that we already have something more effective than a vaccine: face masks.
While it might be easy to dismiss Redfield’s comments as nothing more than hyperbole, the statement is rooted in science. Again, recall that the first incarnation of the coronavirus vaccine may only be 50% effective. On top of that, some have said that the first coronavirus vaccine could require people to take two doses. If that theory pans out, it would only serve to further reduce the initial quantity of vaccine doses.
What’s more, it’s been proven time and time again that the coronavirus can be stopped dead in its tracks if everyone opts to wear a mask. Indeed, this is why some countries in Asia — where mask-wearing has long been common — weren’t hit as hard by the coronavirus pandemic in the first place.
“We have clear scientific evidence they work,” Redfield said recently of masks during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. “This face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID19 than when I take a COVID vaccine.
“These face masks are the most powerful public health tool we have,” Redfield added. “I appeal to all Americans to embrace these face coverings.”
As to the latest updates regarding the ongoing work towards a vaccine, it’s possible that different vaccines from different manufacturers will be approved. If two doses are indeed required, individuals will have to have a second dose about three to four weeks after the first one.