Looking ahead to a better year
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, a ray of hope is emerging for the first time. With three highly effective vaccines on the horizon, a route out of the current global situation is becoming clearer. Though the cutting-edge new vaccines are without a doubt one of the most incredible scientific achievements of our lifetimes, it’s important to stay patient and safe whilst we wait for them.
What do we Know?
At present, there are three vaccine front-runners.
1. The Pfizer vaccine. This was likely the first of the coronavirus vaccines you heard of, and with breaking news of its approval by the MHRA and EMA, this ground-breaking RNA-targeting vaccine will begin rollout in the UK next week, first being offered to vulnerable members of the population.
2. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Our homegrown vaccine by Oxford University is another promising prospect, especially with the news that the government has pre-ordered 100 million doses, which could vaccinate the majority of the population (2 doses per person are required). Crucially, this vaccine needn’t be stored at very low temperatures like the Pfizer vaccine, which is good news for the logistics of rollout, should it be approved.
3. The Moderna vaccine. The third pre-ordered vaccine on the shortlist is the Moderna vaccine, which is currently showing great results in the final stage of clinical trials.
What Should we Keep Doing?
With the recent approval of the Pfizer vaccine and a number of other promising prospects coming to light, it would be easy to let our guard down. Of course, hope and excitement for the future are both completely warranted and what we all need.
However, in the meantime, it’s important not to lose sight of the crucial preventative measures we are all used to by now. Here’s what we should keep doing until the majority of the population are vaccinated and safe.
1. Wear our masks and practice social distancing. Masks and social distancing are incredibly effective in protecting others around you from COVID-19, and as we all know by now, you may not necessarily be aware that you have the disease. Whether you’re planning on heading out Christmas shopping now the national lockdown has ended, or are meeting family over the festive period, keep a 2-metre distance wherever possible and be sure to wear your mask if you are not medically exempt.
2. Utilise temperature checking. As we explored in another blog post back in August, one study found that fever is 81.8% likely to be the first symptom of COVID-19. In the early stages of the illness and combined with no other symptoms, this could be easy to miss, which is why it is of utmost importance for business owners to continue checking the temperature of customers and staff on entry.
Now is also the time to start thinking ahead and considering the long-term impacts of the pandemic. Though having three cutting-edge new vaccines on the horizon is wonderful news for the New Year, the future implications are unclear. As yet, it is not possible to know how long immunity will last, and with the increased accessibility of travel in the modern day, this may not be the last pandemic we see in our lifetimes.
Even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, temperature-checking, socially distanced public spaces and a newfound attitude towards illness could be integrated into our lives on a more permanent basis, keeping us all safe from future risks.