I don’t consider myself a pessimistic person but the pandemic and how some of us have handled it has illustrated why we as humans have found ourselves in this predicament in the first place and why I questioned our ability to get ourselves out of it.
People stockpiled resources in order to sell them at a profit. Others ignored safety protocol. Still others called it a hoax and continue to do so.
When news broke about vaccines that were 90–95% effective, I was pleasantly surprised but I questioned if trials would be done comprehensively enough to actually save lives instead of issuing a quick fix.
As introverted as I am, the waves of quarantining have not been good to me. I want to go out and breathe without a mask as much as the next person, but not if it means infecting others or myself.
Luckily, there may be a reason for optimism after all.
Mark Toshner, the Director of Translational Biomedical Research at the University of Cambridge has outlined how impressed he is at the effectiveness of the vaccines but also the speed of the pharmaceutical companies in creating them.
Toshner addressed the notion that vaccines take several years to develop, a common concern among the skeptics (like me). The time it takes to submit grants, gain approval from an ethics board, get the necessary resources, obtain funding, do the preclinical studies, locate sites and find enough volunteers takes many years.
But due to the urgency of the pandemic, everyone got on board quickly. With less red tape, willing participants and great financial backing, scientists had the excellent support needed to issue a solution for humanity.
Moreover, Toshner adds that since vaccines have been administered in trials, there have been no deaths and all safety measures were heeded. Regulators were hoping for a vaccine that was 50% effective but instead we have three vaccines; one is 90% effective while the other two are 95% effective.
Naturally, he still urged caution as this is just the beginning. But it is hard to argue against the results. Not only has science prevailed, humanity has come together to eliminate a generational scourge.
Remember there was hope that a vaccine would be ready by March 2021. We have bested that; a vaccine could be out by late December.
Now the major concern is shipping, cost and administering the vaccine. And anti-vaxers. But my regained optimism won’t be daunted. At least not for now.