At the end of the past year, many countries around the world including the US started their coronavirus vaccine rollouts under the guidance of health organizations. Currently, people who belong to high-risk groups are prioritized in receiving the first two doses of any of the vaccine along with front line health care workers as they are more likely to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
Under this planning, the US has vaccinated over two million people using either Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine or Moderna vaccine. Both of these vaccines are highly effective and can help end the pandemic in a short period of time if distributed evenly. However, the speed of the rollout has been slow in most countries due to different reasons.
In the US, different issues have kept the vaccine from being distributed including logistical problems and political changes. Globally, the biggest problem is the rise of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 including the UK variant and South African variant.
According to results from the Pfizer trial, the vaccine is effective even on the new strains. Moderna trial is still testing the formula on the variants but it is highly unlikely that Moderna or any of the new vaccines would not work on new strains spreading at the moment.
Therefore, new strains may not be much of a problem for the time being. Does this mean that vaccines will be distributed and available to all people at some time? Even though most problems associated with vaccine rollout can be resolved, experts state that it may take a long period for the coronavirus vaccinations to be accessible.
For younger people who do not have any underlying conditions and are not frontline healthcare workers, the vaccine may not be available until the summer of this year. The only way to speed up the distribution would be the approval of more new vaccines but right now that too will not happen any time soon.
While young adults appear to be at a lower risk of developing severe coronavirus infection, the slow distribution can still cause problems. Till now, data on new infections in the past few months shows that younger people are primarily responsible for the new outbreaks especially after the end of the summer of 2020.
Because most younger people know that they do not have a high risk of severe infection, they have a false sense of security. As a result, they are unlikely to stay at home or take coronavirus precautions when heading outside in public places.
With the rise of pandemic fatigue, the chances of people following coronavirus guidelines again are not very high. Therefore, the transmission levels of the virus may remain unchanged with younger, unvaccinated people not taking preventive measures.
The vaccine may not be available till summer for young adults but experts are still warning to follow guidelines both before and after getting vaccinated. Widespread immunity cannot be achieved without a combination of both. So, it is important for people to be patient and take preventive measures until the pandemic is over.