How fitting that in this season of miracles, we can celebrate the arrival of one that knows no religious or cultural boundaries: the Covid-19 vaccine.
Make that vaccines. We so far have two miracle medicines inoculating people against the killer coronavirus, that once-in-a-century horror that has killed so many people we loved and destroyed so much of we had built. Our deepest thanks go to the scientists at Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna who created the lifesaving elixirs that are just now starting to get to people. The speed with which they created these miracle vaccines is unparalleled in medical history.
Now we just need for everyone to take them. There is, unfortunately, an ignorant, loud minority trying to denigrate the vaccines and make absurd assertions about them. It was false to claim 20 years ago that vaccines cause autism, and it’s false to claim today that they contain microchips enabling Bill Gates to keep track of you. Yet this is what some people actually are saying.
Most recognize these kinds of outlandish claims for the nonsense they are. In an ABC News/Ipsos poll released last week, 84 percent of Americans said they would take the vaccine, with 40 percent saying they would do so as soon as they could and 44 percent saying they would wait a while. That’s not too bad considering that only a couple months ago major media outlets and even some political figures were casting doubt on the idea that a safe, effective vaccine could be ready before the end of the year. Only 15 percent said they would not take the vaccine, but as more and more people do, and they show no signs of dropping dead, turning into zombies or following strange orders implanted by Gates directly into their minds, more people will come around.
As they must. We don’t expect the government to make the vaccine mandatory, at least not for everyone, but we would hope that just about everyone gets it in the end. That’s what must be done to beat the virus down and keep it down.
For some it should be mandatory, starting with healthcare workers. Whether a nurse in a long-term care facility or a doctor with a private office, every medical professional must be inoculated. Others who should be required to get the vaccine include police officers and firefighters. These are public employees who literally have to get in people’s faces on a moment’s notice, often in life or death situations, and we don’t want any further risk of death when that happens.
As for the general public, once the vaccines are more widely available, getting one should be required at least to fly on commercial aircraft. And immunizations must be mandatory for children. Just as measles, mumps and rubella shots are required for school, Covid shots should be.
We don’t know how long it will be before anyone can just go and get a vaccine, or how that will look — whether you’ll have to go to a doctor’s office, just stop by Walgreens or go to some mass inoculation event in a venue like an arena — but it can’t come soon enough for us. And maybe it will be earlier than the experts predict, just as the development and approval of the vaccines themselves were. Already we’ve seen unexpected good news like the fact that vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine labeled as containing five doses actually have enough for six or seven. That’s as much as a 40 percent increase in the number who can be vaccinated.
It also appears that just one shot is enough to offer strong protection against the virus, even without a booster weeks later, though it’s not definite yet. If that is the case, we could double the number of people inoculated in short order and speed up the time line for mass availability of the vaccine.
It’s that kind of news that could turn this season of miracles into the truly happy new year we all so desperately crave.