By Sam Williams ’24
We are approaching the one year anniversary of the COVID vaccine, yet there are still some countries that do not have access, as well as people who are deciding not to take it.
The obvious reason for why some countries have not taken the vaccine is that they are unable to afford it. Some countries, according to The New York Times, do not even have 1% of their population vaccinated. These countries include Chad, Tanzania, Haiti, Congo, and South Sudan with 82% of its population below the national poverty line as of April 2021.
But this does not explain why people in countries where the vaccine is affordable have not taken it. The vaccine is optional in countries despite growing requirements enforced by schools and businesses. Because of this, some people who are eligible to take the vaccine have made the choice to withstand it – some people are simply too young to take the vaccine – with both of these factors, only around 50% of America is fully vaccinated.
The fact that so many people are not vaccinated can be dangerous for the near future. When the disease moves among people, it evolves. This is the explanation for the “Delta variant” and how COVID-19 is becoming more dangerous. People who are vaccinated are not immune to the disease, and as time goes on we may be more and more vulnerable to it. As of right now, according to the CDC, the vaccine makes people 8 times less likely to be infected, and if they are infected, they are 25 times less likely to be seriously affected or even die from it.
But a rising concern with the vaccine is its effectiveness waning over time. This has caused a need for a booster shot, to ensure people are as safe as they possibly can be. More affluent countries have already begun to give out booster shots, while others are still in desperate need of the vaccine itself. According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization (W.H.O), officials “do not want to see widespread use of boosters for healthy people who are fully vaccinated” but rather, “for the most at-risk populations where there is evidence of waning immunity against severe disease and death.”
Even if you are vaccinated, you are not completely immune COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals are still able to spread the virus to others and are even able to be infected themselves. Please remember to always wear a mask, and follow CDC guidelines.