Vaccines. For some reason they are controversial, but the point of this post is not to argue why everyone should get vaccinated (because they certainly should!), but rather to discuss booster shots.
In recent weeks, several western cultures and various others around the world have started to wonder if third “booster” vaccine doses should be administered to their respective general populations in the coming months. Now, before we even look at the science of whether this is even necessary for the double-vaccinated demographic – are you kidding me?! The vast, VAST, majority of the global population has not even received a single dose of any vaccine. According to CTV News as of August 30, 2021, only 39.73% of the global population has received one dose and only 26.66% has received two doses. In fact, the continent of Africa’s single and double dose rates are 4.74% and 2.64%, respectively, including several countries that have less than 1% vaccinated with one dose.
My point, which scientists around the world have overwhelmingly warned about, is that the delta variant and other variants are all a product of sustained infection spread in a region. As a virus spreads through a population, the population that becomes infected and survives begins to develop antibodies to fight the virus. A virus requires healthy hosts to spread, but also the absence of antibodies to avoid dying off. As a result, a virus naturally mutates into variants over time to continue spreading. This issue was warned by world scientists because the longer it takes to vaccinate the overall world population, the greater likelihood that variants will continue to develop. This could result in a variant eventually developing that could render the existing vaccines ineffective. I don’t think I have to explain why that would be a major crisis…*cough* back to square one! *cough*
Now for the booster shots. Booster shots are an important stage in fighting a pandemic, but the question is when and how they should be used. According to CNN, the CDC told the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that the data shows the current vaccine doses administered to the general population are still highly effective to fight the virus and variants, according to the most recent data. But even if boosters could be somewhat effective in September, is that really the most efficient use of vaccines?
No. Because if we continue to just vaccinate the wealthy countries, which also include substantial demographics that refuse to get vaccinated (a whole other problem), this strategy does nothing to limit variants from developing, and perpetuates a never-ending cycle. Instead, we need to be sending the vast majority of the world’s vaccine manufacturing capacity to the countries with minimal to zero vaccinated populations. If we can stop the variants from forming so quickly, we can get out of the pandemic. It is the only way we can finally win. We need global herd immunity as quickly as possible. Otherwise, I fear the inevitable super-variant that sends us back to March 2020.