With a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, are we finally winning against COVID-19?


Optimism is one of the things that has made the coronavirus pandemic difficult to stick to or even measure. Reviewing data can have a fluctuating effect on a person’s state of mind. Last week, Johnson & Johnson announced that, in trials, it is Coronavirus disease– The 19 vaccine had an efficacy rate of more than sixty-six per cent in preventing moderate to severe diseases, and it was eighty-five per cent effective in preventing severe to critical cases – and no person who received the vaccine was admitted to hospital or died because of whom Coronavirus disease-19. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Committee voted, unanimously, to recommend that it become the third vaccine to be authorized for emergency use in the United States. It could be published as soon as this week.

Illustration by Joao Fazenda

Should one’s mood be lowered knowing that the two previously approved vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, have higher rates of effectiveness – around ninety-five percent? (Not really; J. & J’s numbers are still very good.) Alternatively, if one’s mood improves from knowing that, unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, only one J & J injection is required, and that Can the vaccine be stored in a regular refrigerator? (Certainly). Is there any indication that vaccinations, along with the end of the holiday season and the increasing willingness to wear masks, are finally changing the course of the epidemic? (Yes: Since the start of the year, the average daily number of new cases in the United States has decreased by three-quarters; worldwide, the number is half of what it used to be.) Fortunately, the ascent appears to overcome the odds.

Joy can be hard to come by, however, due to the heft of what the country is still going through. The average daily death toll is around two thousand – a sharp drop since mid-January, when it was well above 3,000, but has quadrupled from last July. And as February ended, there seemed to be some kind of wiggle in the progress – perhaps because extreme weather caused disruptions or, most foreboding, due to the spread of what appear to be more contagious variants.

The biggest barrier to optimism has to do with these variables: the British, Brazilians, and South Africa. The J. & J vaccine has survived well in large-scale trials in South Africa. There is evidence that other vaccines will not work well against this variant or, apparently, against the Brazilian vaccine, although vaccine makers are working on boosters to address this problem. The vaccines appear to be effective against the rapidly spreading British variant. But the fear is that the variants may outweigh vaccines. The race is still on: A new kind of disturbing boom seems to be gaining ground in New York City.

Two celebrations at the White House last week embodied the shaking between pain and progress. The first, Monday evening, is held in South Portico, to mark half a million American registrants Coronavirus disease– 19 deaths. Before calling for a moment of silence, President Biden urged Americans not to be “numb to grief.” Just three days later, Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony Fauci, watched four frontline workers get their first shots in an event described as “50 million.” Coronavirus disease Vaccinations. ”“ 50 million, ”as Biden explained, cited the number of doses that have been given since his inauguration. The total is close to seventy million doses, with twenty million people being fully vaccinated. Biden gave a bunch of jokes about how the shot really doesn’t hurt, Then he warned, “This is not a victory lap.” But he added, “We are getting close.”

It’s hard to rejoice unashamedly when vaccine distribution is this mess. Donald Trump had no real plan, leaving things like eligibility for states. The Biden administration has been more involved, but the system remains fragmented. Just because you qualify to get a vaccine in New York, it doesn’t mean that you qualify in Massachusetts or Georgia. A contentious issue is whether prioritizing kindergarten teachers through twelfth grade is a condition for reopening schools; They are eligible to receive vaccinations in about thirty states, and only in certain counties in some other counties. If you qualify, you will often need a lot of free time and technical access to secure an appointment. Racial and class disparities abound, along with some arbitrariness. However, just looking at the preliminary numbers, people in the United States are vaccinated at twice the rate of vaccination in Germany. (Both the United States and Germany are better off in terms of supplies than most of the developing world.)

One measure of how difficult it is to contemplate the next chapter of the pandemic is the discussion about “vaccine passports.” The idea is that someone’s vaccine status – perhaps documented by an app – could open doors that would otherwise have closed. But which doors? It is a common practice to provide evidence of vaccination before traveling to another country. Difficulties arise in accessing jobs and whether vaccinated people should be encouraged to act as if Coronavirus disease19 – It is no longer a factor – to go to large indoor weddings, crowded theaters and crowded restaurants – when vaccines are not universally available and vaccinated people may continue to spread the disease, albeit to a lesser extent.

Conversely, some worry that belittling what vaccines can do might increase people’s reluctance to get them. (Hesitation about the vaccine is a concern; one-third of the military who were offered the vaccine rejected it.) In this sense, vaccines highlight, rather than eradicate, a central dilemma of this brutal but disproportionate epidemic: how to balance rational risk with society’s and pragmatic commitments about what still awaits us. It is reasonable, for example, to expect vaccinated people who meet at home with friends and relatives who have been vaccinated to continue to wear masks in public.

The wave of winter ends, and there is every opportunity, with luck and vigilance, not to see something like it again soon, even if the Corona virus and its descendants remain. Recently, Fauci told CNN that he believes life may return to normal patterns by the end of this year and that Americans may still be wearing masks in 2022. He also said, “It really depends on what you mean by normality.” In the context of a prolonged pandemic, one can begin to get used to a lot of unbearable things. But it would be catastrophic for you to become a drug of hope. ♦

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