Experts from the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) doubt that the first COVID vaccines are a magic potion with which the world could regain pre-pandemic normality.
Emerging evidence suggests that the ‘first generation’ vaccines currently being tested are likely to prevent SARS-CoV-2-related disease, but are less likely to prevent infection with the virus. This means that transmission of the virus is unlikely to be significantly reduced with this first generation of vaccines, the report released on December 15 warns.
“Reported vaccine results of 90% effectiveness and above are encouraging”says Ian Frazer, immunologist Professor at University of Queensland and one of the co-authors.
Academics rather anticipate a scenario in which vaccines, antiviral therapies and other available tools will reduce hospitalizations and deaths associated with COVID-19.
“But these vaccines will need an enormous effort to manufacture, transport, store and administer across Australia. And that is going to take a lot of time—very likely, deep into 2021. If we let our guard down before that, the virus will get away from us again”he added.
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According to the report, the best strategy to balance public health with the reopening of society and the economy, in their opinion, is to control the spread of infections through tests, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. Physical distancing, the use of masks and hand hygiene are also effective in achieving this.