In recent days in Geneva, senior officials at the World Health Organisation who have been closely monitoring the range of this coronavirus pandemic issued a warning that cases globally have started to increase. A year into this pandemic, when a range of vaccines have been developed, approved, manufactured and now rolled out, we might have expected the numbers to fall.
The WHO briefing serves as a timely reminder indeed of the nature of the invisible microbiological threat we face from Covid-19 and its mutations that have developed in different pockets around the world. But the briefing too should serve as a reminder to us all that we have come so far in these past 12 or 13 months, now is not the time to become complacent.
This pandemic has been the challenge of our mostly peaceful lifetimes. But it shall end. In the past year, scientists and researchers have developed a series of vaccines in an unparalleled short time frame — months, not the decade normally associated with such biotech advances.
Indeed, as more and more people receive vaccinations, the danger is that we might drop our guard and believe that all is right with the world again. It is not. We all have a duty to remain vigilant.
They have been tested and approved at lightning speed and pharmaceutical manufacturers in plants in China, India, across Europe and the US, have been producing them by the multimillion doses in mere months. And governments around the world have begun the logistically difficult campaign of getting those jabs into the arms of their citizenries.
Rest assured, the vaccines are working. Every hour, more and more people receive doses, and every day millions more develop the antibodies that provide immunity against this virus and most of its forms. The data is undeniable. In the UK, where more than 20 million people have been vaccinated since the middle of December, a quarter of adults have antibodies, either through inoculation or by infection.
Coronavirus has changed the way we live. The likelihood is that for the next several years, as long as Covid remains a viable threat, we may all have to receive annual booster shots, much like much of the world receives an annual flu jab to fight that year’s variant.
It’s important to remember that researchers are working swiftly to tweak this arsenal of vaccines to cover off new variants of coronavirus. It is challenging work but one that will inevitably succeed. Indeed, as more and more people receive vaccinations, the danger is that we might drop our guard and believe that all is right with the world again. It is not. We all have a duty to remain vigilant.
As Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, noted, “Early detection of new cases and their contacts is an important and effective weapon in limiting the spread of the virus, and thus reducing complications and deaths”.