Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Adam Kleczkowski from the University of Scotland in Strathclyde in his comment for the server The Conversation described what awaits us this year.
He noted that due to the coronavirus mutation, there could be changes in outbreaks and the rapid suppression of the pandemic became an even more urgent topic. Stricter measures, he said, are likely to accompany us for several more months, and if the virus becomes more contagious, we may need stricter restrictions.
He considers one of the primary goals of 2021 to produce a sufficient number of vaccines. But even that alone is not enough. “To illustrate the size of the task, look at the average English GP who cares for almost 2,100 people. Assuming he works eight hours a day, he needs five minutes to get vaccinated, and each patient needs two doses. It would take more than six weeks. than he would see all his patients, if we do not take into account the additional work that GPs have to do, or as a limit on how many people can be safely vaccinated at the same time, “the professor writes.
However, he points out that the doses must be vaccinated at intervals of 21 days or more, depending on the type of vaccine. The idea that all patients can be vaccinated in a few weeks is therefore foolish, even with regard to the additional work that doctors have to do. According to statistical estimates, vaccination will take several long months. A similar situation can occur in the Czech Republic, where, according to estimates, there are 1,600 patients per general practitioner.
According to the professor, it is also important to realize that full immunity does not come immediately after vaccination. For example, in the case of the Pfizer vaccine, the vaccinated individual is immune up to 7 days after the second dose. On average, it takes at least a month after the first vaccination for a person to have established immunity.
Subsequently, it is necessary to create the so-called collective immunity. “Infected individuals will increasingly have contact with immune people than with people at risk. Therefore, transmission will decrease and eventually the disease will stop spreading,” he explained.
However, the level of collective immunity needed to stop the spread of the virus is not exactly known. “It is estimated to be between 60% and 80%. We are far from there at the moment. Billions around the world will have to be vaccinated to prevent the spread of the virus,” he added.
According to his estimates, mortality will decrease, as the vaccination coverage of high-risk patients, especially elderly and sick patients, will increase, but in younger patients the disease will continue to spread, even with all long-term consequences.
“Vaccines are not a silver bullet, a degree of caution will have to be followed for months. Any changes will come slowly, especially in the area of nursing home visits and hospital reopening,” the statistician said, adding that wearing face protection could become a social practice, is in Asia, where it is deployed automatically by anyone who does not feel well.
But can all measures and vaccinations eventually eradicate the virus? According to the expert, this is not very clear yet. “We do not yet know how long vaccine-based immunity will last, and long-term immunity will be crucial. Complete eradication of the virus will be very difficult and will require global effort,” he fears.
“Even though we are within reach of eradicating polio, smallpox remains the only human disease that we have fully controlled, and it has taken almost 200 years. For example, measles, although almost eradicated in many countries, continues to return,” he added.
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