Covid-19 vaccinations will not only help stop the virus from spreading, but they will also hamper the coronavirus’ ability to mutate into new variants, so said Dr Anthony Fauci, the United States’ director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
According to the science, the coronavirus is a parasite that requires a host, the cells of the human body, to replicate itself and spread to other human hosts through human contact. Vaccination, however, significantly slows down that process of replication and corrals the virus, so that it does not overrun the cells of the human body, causing serious illness and death. So, to vaccinate is to keep the virus in check if one gets infected and to stop the creation of mutants arising from the process of replication.
The consequences of the low uptake of vaccinations in most parts of the world are continuing to pose challenges with the emergence of new variants that may well escape the defense of existing vaccinations. Dr. Fauci’s assertion of the added value of vaccination is being supported by the emergence of new variants in low-vaccination countries.
As recent as 30th, August 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) added another version of coronavirus to its list “of variants of interest.” There are concerns that this new variant may escape the immunity people have developed from past infection and vaccination. The new variant, Mu, suggests it has properties that may escape immune defenses. Further work is currently being done to ascertain whether it is more transmissible and causes more serious illness than the now virulent Delta variant.
The case for vaccination continues to be the real game-changer in this ongoing battle to defeat this virus and return to some normality. While vaccination is an essential defensive response in the war against the coronavirus, we must not forget the other basic defensive responses: social distancing, face-covering, and hand washing.
We must still, however, double our efforts to get to the level of herd immunity. We can stop this virus from spreading and replicating itself, with possibilities of new variants. Saint Lucia must play its part in this global battle by getting its population vaccinated.