Not about bschool — but important!
And, since we’ve been covering coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, we may as well do a little public service announcement today on the realities of what’s ahead.
Obviously we all know that there’s a vaccine.
Scientists are saying that it is indeed safe — yes, even though it’s a new technology (mRNA, specifically) being used to stimulate your body’s immune response.
Different regions are following different methodologies for vaccine rollout. If you qualify for access, we do hope you’ll take advantage of that and get vaccinated. Conversely, if you don’t currently qualify, please don’t try to jump the line and finagle a vaccination sooner than your tier, particularly if you’re young and otherwise healthy. Let’s get those who are most vulnerable — first responders, the elderly, teachers, grocery store clerks, those sorts of people — let’s make sure they get access to this vaccine first. Current projections are that most everyone in the U.S. should have access by May or June. Yes it sucks to stay in quarantine but let’s protect those who need the most protecting, and be patient a few more months if we are healthy and can continue with the lockdown life for awhile.
What about once you’re vaccinated? Does that mean that you get to have a big blowout party and dance all night long with 20 friends in your studio apartment?
First of all, you need BOTH SHOTS in the two-shot series to be fully protected — and even once you have the second shot, immunity is neither instantaneous, nor is it complete.
The efficacy rate (how effective it is in protecting you) of these modern vaccines is said to be at most 95%.
If we do the math, that means that 1 in 20 fully-vaccinated people will still come down with coronavirus!! A 95% efficacy means that 5 out of 100 are going to get sick, so yeah, that’s 1 in 20.
errr, NO, says a smart BSer who tapped the ‘Snark on the shoulder after this was posted!! Please see here for correction!!! Essentially the math works out that out of 100 people vaccinated people, 1 person will get sick. Not 5.
The good news is that if you do catch coronavirus after being vaccinated, your symptoms are likely to be much less severe. Apparently only one person in the clinical trials for the Moderna vaccine got seriously ill (treatment group, not control group).
However: The scientists do not yet know whether the vaccine prevents transmission.
They know that it prevents or significantly reduces disease however since coronavirus is a respiratory disease, they’re not sure about whether a vaccinated person might be able to contract coronavirus, be asymptomatic, and still spread it. There are currently vaccines for other respiratory viruses — rotavirus, pertussis, tuberculosis — where the respective vaccine that has been in use for decades for each of those viruses protects against disease but does not prevent transmission to unvaccinated people. When scientists know more about coronavirus, they’ll surely be able to tell us, but for now they simply don’t know if the vaccine protects against transmission. Current thinking is that it should probably decrease transmission but they don’t know anything concrete or definitive.
That’s why it’ll be important to KEEP WEARING YOUR MASK when you’re in public. You might be vaccinated, but you could still spread it around. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t become sloppy or careless. If you spread it, you could be responsible for others getting sick or even dying. It’s all of our responsibilities to prevent that from happening as much as we possibly can. Wearing masks sucks but it’s better than being indirectly responsible for the death of another person that could have been avoided. Please, just wear your mask. (Especially because now we have to assume that the more highly transmissible strains are circulating everywhere.)
Being vaccinated does make a difference for you though. What will change for you once you’ve been fully vaccinated is that you’ll be able to gather with other FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE. You should still avoid gathering with unvaccinated people!! That’s likely going to be a rule we all have to follow for some time, maybe even through the end of 2021. When we’re in public, and we don’t know who’s been vaccinated and who hasn’t, we all will just keep wearing our masks.
So that’s kind of where things are at right now with how vaccines work and what you should do (or at least, we hope you will do!) as a responsible member of society. Yes EssaySnark really should’ve included links and citations to the medical authorities, studies, and scientists, but this post was written based on an accumulation of knowledge that we’ve been gathering as consumers of science and public health for the last few months. If you know any of it to be false — based on data that refutes any of our points or assertions — please do correct us!! Leave a comment below. And if you know of other facts that should be included in such an overview about how the vaccines work and what actions we should each be doing, let everyone know that too! Comments are open.
Finally: Want to get a science-based assessment of the risk of you doing a particular activity? The microcovid website does that.