A new paper in the journal Health Affairs points out several factors that are critical battling the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
According to the report, how well a vaccine program will works depends not only on its efficacy but also on:
A) how quickly it can be manufactured,
B) how efficiently it can be distributed to locations in greatest need,
C) how persuasive health messaging can be in promoting public acceptance, and
D) how consistently the public can adhere to the many complementary prevention strategies (e.g., masks, hand-washing, distancing) to limit the spread of the virus.
Face masks will still be critical to preventation, as well as hand-washing and social distancing. The vaccine will work best if we can reduce the current spread of the virus using these methods.
At the current level of infection in the U.S., even a vaccine that is 95 percent effective, the U.S could still have more than 160,000 additional deaths and 10 million new cases next year.
The New York Times explains, “The vaccines will be much less effective at preventing death and illness in 2021 if they are introduced into a population where the coronavirus is raging — as is now the case in the U.S.”