Former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gotlieb said that the US is not likely to eradicate Covid as it did for smallpox and polio. And there are various reasons for it, the lack of vaccines is one of them.
How Likely Is Covid Eradication In The US?
According to Scott, who is also an attending member of the board of Pfizer, eradication of any disease is possible through vaccination. Firstly, the vaccine should be available in sufficient amounts for its administration to an entire community. Secondly, the vaccine must be a one-shot lifetime preventive measure of the disease. And thirdly, a community should step in collectively and get vaccinated. In the US and other countries, all of these seem to be missing.
People worldwide are showing hesitations on the administration of Covid-19 vaccines. They feel to be at low risks. Cases of blood clots with the J&J vaccine have added further to the hesitations. But Scott emphasized that even if people feel they are safe, they may still get infected with the virus and transmit the disease. And if people remain vulnerable to the virus, eradication will not be possible.
The US has been successful in preventing polio. Polio vaccines became available in the country in 1955. And according to the CDC, the country has not encountered any cases of polio since 1979. The eradication of smallpox occurred in the country in 1980. Until then, the country had several vaccination campaigns that aimed towards a large-scale administration of the vaccine. The country no longer requires routine vaccinations for smallpox, noted CDC. As far as polio is concerned, CDC recommends at least four doses of the vaccine for children at different ages of development.
The vaccines for smallpox, polio, and measles are effective because they work in the long term. The doses, once administered in childhood, protect people in their adulthood. When this is combined with a sufficient supply of vaccines, eradication becomes possible.
But Scott observed a lack of these favorable conditions for covid. Besides the hesitations expressed by adults, the vaccine is not yet available for children. According to Scott, there are different opinions on whether children should return to schools once they receive the vaccine doses. And when that is the case, it cannot be said that the disease has been eradicated. It would rather imply that the disease has been brought to a low level, and there are still chances of transmission.
Scott made this remark after Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer said that people will require a third dose of the covid vaccine after a year of being vaccinated. The remark has resumed conversations on the duration of the covid threat. Meanwhile, US universities and colleges have made it mandatory for students to get vaccinated before they could return to the colleges for the fall.
The current rate of vaccination in the US is 24%, according to the data from CDC. President Joe Biden has urged states to make the vaccines eligible for the use of adults within the coming days. But despite the millions of vaccine doses administered daily, the US is witnessing a fast spread of the virus. The new cases of transmission have increased by 7% from the past weeks. The days from John Hopkins University, the country as of now has reported more than 31 million covid cases. The cases of death have exceeded 5 million. The country accounts for 20% of the total number of cases reported worldwide. Under such high risks of the virus, Bourla and others feel that covid vaccination might become an annual event.