Letter: All that glitters is not gold … or liquid gold
While 2020 may have been one of the more turbulent years in recent history with COVID-19 and its ravishing effects on the world, there is a silver lining. As the year comes to a close, scientists around the world have been working tirelessly, using every available resource to come up with a solution.
A vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel that everyone, going into the hard months of winter, needs to hear. It is a very exciting prospect and also an extremely good sign, but it is important to approach this as precisely and surgically as possible.
If anything, science has taught society that every step must be double and triple checked. Historically, important scientific announcements, like vaccines, are made through peer-reviewed medical research papers that have undergone years of extensive scrutiny testing for sound study design and results.
Due to the severity of the current climate, vaccine testing has been expedited through usually multi-year long FDA testing steps. Making it even more critical that we keep questions at the forefront of the vaccine moving forward, such as, how long will each vaccine dose last? What level of immunity does each dose hold? Can you infect others once you are vaccinated? How effective is the vaccine if the majority of the population does not get it? How much testing would normally go into something like this? These are all questions that are currently being worked on in voluntary testing.
This means going back into the vaccine’s blueprints to the point where we know every piece inside and out and study meticulously every possible side effect, long or short term, varying between different subsets of populations like age, gender and race. Do we have the time for that? Not currently with disease rate skyrocketing in the U.S., which is why creating a sound temporary solution will buy the right amount of time to create a longterm solution.
The last thing we need at this point in time is to rush the process and produce a vaccine as quickly and cheaply as possible. Knowing there is finally an end in sight, I believe good things will come to those who wait. I want to remain the optimist, but I also don’t want to mess up or be messed up because the scientific process was rushed.
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