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COVID-19 vaccines are now being distributed across many parts of the world, with some countries having more successful vaccine rollouts than others due to a plethora of reasons. Many people have been rushing to get vaccinated, and not without reason. Saturday, April 3rd, 2021 was the first day in which over four million doses of vaccines were given in the United States in a single day, showing promise for the near future. It is a relief, sure, but that does not mean that we should get all our hopes up just yet.
The increase in vaccinations will hopefully lead to an occurrence known as herd immunity. Herd immunization occurs when a large portion of the community becomes immune to a particular virus or disease, and so transmission of the threat becomes progressively less likely. The theory is that eventually, enough people will become vaccinated and life will be able to return to normal.
In fact, while cases and deaths are nowhere near the amount seen in January 2021, there has still been a 19% spike recently, especially in Northeastern and Midwest states. This resurgence has led to discussion as to whether or not a fourth wave of the Coronavirus is upon us. Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm spoke with The Washington Post regarding his belief that a “fourth wave” of the Coronavirus will arise as a result of the five known variants of concern, but just how far they have spread is still unknown. “I believe that, in some ways, we’re almost in a new pandemic,” Osterholm said. As the available vaccines have varying degrees of success against these new variants of the Coronavirus, a fourth wave is something about which we should be concerned.
There are currently four main types of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the world: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer. AstraZeneca has not been approved in the U.S. for use, however. They are also given to people of different age ranges. None of the vaccines have been cleared for individuals under 16 yet, though.
Governor Cuomo’s reopening of stadiums and sporting events hints at a more open future, but whether or not it is too soon to take these actions is up for debate. Spikes in cases have caused repeated shut downs over the past year.
The possibility of a fourth wave happening in the United States remains to be seen. As of this article’s publication on April 23rd, 2021, 41% of Americans have received one dose of vaccine, and 27% are fully vaccinated. With more and more Americans getting vaccinated, this may be enough to prevent a fourth wave from occurring. For now, we must continue to social distance, wear masks, do as many activities outside as possible, and get vaccinated when we are able to do so.
As of this article’s publication on April 23rd, 2021, 41% of Americans have received one dose of vaccine, and 27% are fully vaccinated.