Vaccines work against Covid-19, including the highly contagious Delta variant – but the challenge is getting enough people vaccinated, according to a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
“It doesn’t help to leave it in the refrigerator, it won’t prevent disease. You have to take this vaccine in your arms,” said William Schaffner on Monday in CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia.
Data compiled by the online scientific publication Our World In Data showed that around 22.6% of the world’s population received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine – but most of them are in high-income, affluent countries in North America and Western Europe.
Less than 1% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
Covid booster recordings
It remains unclear whether those vaccinated against Covid-19 would need booster shots across the board.
A group of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said that there is currently insufficient data to support the recommendation of booster shots for the general population, but that more vulnerable groups such as the elderly or transplant recipients may need an additional dose .
Medical assistant Odilest Guerrier administers a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Pasqual Cruz at a clinic established by Healthcare Network in Immokalee, Florida on May 20, 2021.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
Schaffner said the need for booster vaccinations would depend on two things.
“The length of time our current vaccines will be protected has yet to be determined, but so far so well, and whether new variants will emerge that can bypass the protection of our current vaccines,” he said, adding that such variants are still ongoing are appear. “We just have to get (Covid vaccines) more acceptance among the population.”
The coronavirus has mutated many times since the pandemic began last year.
One variant that experts say poses a major threat to the elimination of Covid-19 is Delta – a virulent strain that was first discovered in India and has since spread in over 90 countries around the world. Delta is becoming the predominant variant of the disease worldwide and has been declared a “worrying variant” by the World Health Organization.
Many countries face vaccine hesitation, in part due to misinformation spread about the gunfire.
Even in the United States, where more than 50% of the population received at least one dose of the vaccine, vaccination efforts in some states have hit a wall as the Delta variant is rapidly spreading across the country. It could become a potential problem in parts of the US, especially in rural areas where vaccination rates remain low, making more people susceptible to the Delta variant.
We risk new variants that may escape the protection of our vaccine as the virus spreads. Not just here in the United States, but all over the world.
Vanderbilt University Medical School
Schaffner said the US is in a “slightly better position” to tackle the new variant, but it is far from ideal. He explained that in some areas the vaccination rate achieved is between mid-20% to mid-30%, while the ideal range to stop the spread of the Delta variant is around 70% to 80%. Many people who are hospitalized for Covid-19 are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, according to Schaffner.
“The more transmissions that occur, the more new people are infected, the more opportunities the virus has to multiply. When it multiplies, it mutates. And when it mutates, it has the opportunity to create new variants, ”he said.
“We are threatened with new variants that can evade the protection of our vaccine the further the virus spreads. Not just here in the US, but all over the world, ”added Schaffner.