We finally received some good news yesterday when Pfizer reported their preliminary Covid-19 vaccine trial results showed very positive results (90% efficacy level).
It is quite difficult to believe that it is just ten or so months after the first news of this mysterious virus in Wuhan broke and we started to cover around mid-January.
Even if the Pfizer vaccine is approved or any other currently going through late clinical trials, it just means that we are slowly inching towards the beginning of the end of the current pandemic. Nothing will change for most of us in the near-term.
There won’t be a large number of doses ready that would allow vaccinating the world’s population overnight.
The first one will go to the most vulnerable and those working in the healthcare sector (and rightfully so). Even if there are unknown side effects, the benefits outweigh the risks in this population.
The Northern Hemisphere countries in Europe and North America are going through new waves of Covid-19 infections. There could be a third spike in 2021 if the Spanish flu, which was first reported in the US, of 1918 – 1920, is any indication. Back then countries had three or four waves, of which the second one was most fatal.
We must continue to observe physical distancing, good hand hygiene (keep rubbing that alcohol), and keep those face masks up.
If all goes well, we may reach some level of normalcy by the Northern spring of 2021, and I would assume that travel restrictions are slowly lifted by 2022.
I wish that this mess would be over by the time the vaccine(s) are approved, but unfortunately, that won’t be the case.
You must keep in mind that although we may have approved vaccines by the end of 2020, it will take years to vaccinate the entire population of this planet. There could be enough of the Pfizer two-shot vaccine, if approved, to vaccinate 25 million in 2020 and 650 million in 2021.
We will likely hear from other successful vaccine projects once they have cleared the stage 3 clinical studies.
The travel restrictions that were quickly put in place this past March will take quite some time to be withdrawn. It is difficult to see travel restrictions lifted before the second half of 2021, Asia-Pacific countries being the last.
It remains to be seen whether we will need to carry some form of verification of vaccination, similar to a Yellow Fever certificate, once the vaccine(s) are released and countries begin to relax their travel restrictions. It does seem like a logical step to re-opening international borders however.