Should vaccines be rushed despite the risk?
Since the pandemic swept the globe, people continue to ask themselves: when will a vaccine or cure be developed? This question sparked drug companies like Johnson and Johnson, and BioNTech SE, among others, to begin the race for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The possible development and distribution of a vaccine would have a major impact on local schools and communities. With the possibility of a vaccine, we, as a community, could sooner transition to a hybrid model or even traditional schooling.
Now, everyone is holding their breath to see which company will produce a vaccine first, despite how rushing the vaccine testing and development could lead to disastrous results.
Even though the vaccine is in development, skipping steps along the way might not be the most effective in speeding up the process. According to LiveScience.com, vaccine developers are getting ready to skip over animal testing in favor of testing it on humans first.
Let that sink in. Some of the side effects you’ll get from a potential “vaccine” are yet unknown to you and the scientists. So, you’ll have more experience with the vaccine than a guinea pig.
Though unknown side effects are unnerving, the cost and time it will take to develop the vaccine is just as bad. Director of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group Gregory A. Poland said that the creation of a vaccine “is usually seven to ten years or more, and about 1 billion US dollars.” So, while we may want the vaccine to become reality, we set unrealistic expectations of when and how it will happen. Not only are pharmacists skipping crucial steps in the testing phase, but they’re also increasing the cost and decreasing the time it takes to produce this vaccine.
While we all want to speed up the process to save more lives, we have to listen to the voice of reason despite the people’s opposing views: the vaccine development needs to be slowed down.
Contrary to popular belief, you are saving more people when you get the vaccine right in all scenarios. More people will die if the vaccine process is rushed and the final product doesn’t work because of a minor detail that was overlooked. Researchers should be thorough with their work, take other people into account, and avoid skipping steps.
Even if a seemingly reliable vaccine is created, there is the risk of setbacks. This means that what we have now (a shot-in-the-dark vaccine) is less of a hope than what we originally wanted.
Given that pharmacists are under pressure to produce a vaccine or cure, they may overlook some key details that might mean the difference between life and death for some people.
Shibo Jiang, a professor of virology at Fudan University and the New York Blood Center, said, “The virus behind COVID-19 might well mutate in ways that would make previously effective vaccines and antivirals useless.” In other words, when scientists do produce a cure, it probably won’t work on patients that had a mutation of the virus. At that point, who knows when another cure or vaccine will be developed.
While we may want a vaccine or a cure to be developed as soon as possible, we have to realize that it comes at a cost. Whether it be at the expense of COVID victims or healthy people, there is something we will lose. Rushing something that traditionally takes years and billions of dollars into a few measly months is a recipe for disaster.
We have to look at the big picture, not what we want immediately. We have to take our time with the right research and materials to produce a vaccine that will work in all cases.