The coronavirus vaccine is the dire need of the moment to control the ongoing pandemic. The scientists are working to develop a vaccine with maximum efficacy within this year. Currently, there are three different vaccines in clinical trials in the US.
Dr. Anthony Fauci served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He said that the measles vaccine is available with maximum efficacy of nearly 98%. This is the best vaccine ever developed. The scientists are trying to reach this level of efficacy with the coronavirus vaccine. However, this seems difficult at the moment.
Dr. Fauci said that they can go with a Covid-19 vaccine with an efficacy of around 70-75%. Another problem is that one-third of the American population is unwilling to get a vaccine for the virus. This creates another problem in containing the outbreak in the US.
The American population cannot develop herd immunity if only two-third of the people are willing to get vaccinated. Herd immunity develops in a population when the majority of the people in a certain population are immune to a disease.
He also mentioned that there is a huge movement against vaccines going on in the US. They have to educate people on the importance of the coronavirus vaccine. He said that it will be fairly difficult for the government to convince such a huge population to get the vaccine.
The government, however, has a program to counter the anti-vaccine movement. The program will employ community heroes and figures to reach out to them. The people might not believe a government official but they will listen to their local heroes.
Another approach to contain the coronavirus outbreak is contact tracing. The government traces the contacts of a coronavirus positive person who possibly came in contact with that person. They then test and isolate those contacts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
According to Fauci, the government is not tracing contacts of the coronavirus positive patients very well. He said that most of the people do not even answer you because you are a government official. This makes the contact tracing very difficult. Also, most of it is done on the phone. Hence, it is not very accurate and needs improvement.
Fauci recommended the authorities to do contact tracing on the ground level. They should personally look for the people probably exposed to the coronavirus. This needs to be done at the community level. Also, it is the only solution to limit the spread until a coronavirus vaccine is available.
Another issue in contact tracing is that a lot of people are asymptomatic which means that they do not develop the coronavirus symptoms. These circumstances make it difficult to identify the individuals infected with the virus.
Nearly 20 to 40% of the coronavirus positive individuals do not show any symptoms. This makes it extremely difficult to predict how many people the person already infected. Hence, the contact tracing does not work 100% due to such cases.
Since many people do not want the coronavirus vaccine and many people are asymptomatic, it is fairly difficult to develop herd immunity within these communities.