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No matter which part of the political spectrum people follow, there is a universal question that almost everyone has… how many more coronavirus vaccine booster shots will we need? Even people who are willing to get a shot whenever the government tells them to are wondering what the magical number is. The only conclusion after, reading about all the science, and listening to doctors, including my own, is no one really knows, and that is a fact.

Israel has just approved a 4th vaccine dose to be administered to those who are most vulnerable to COVID, anyone with a compromised immune system, or underlying comorbidities. That all sounds well and good, until you think about how we got to where the world is now concerning coronavirus vaccines. First, we were told that getting vaccinated meant you were 100% protected, and that getting the shot was a personal choice. That quickly turned into mask mandates, because the vaccines weren’t proven yet, and then certain segments of the population (by employer or the government) were forced to get vaccinated or lose their jobs.  

Now, we have the first dose(s) coupled with having booster shots, which are designed to add to, and increase/prolong the effectiveness of the first main vaccine. We have entered a phase in the pandemic that is seeing experts say we all need a 3rd or even possible 4th dose, so where does it all end? As I said before no one really knows and that is the kicker, the vaccines got approved so fast questions have been raised as to whether there was sufficient time to test and research them.

Here is a fun fact, starting in the early 20th century, it took decades of research to understand the complexities of the influenza virus, and it wasn’t until 1945 that the first vaccine was approved for use in the US. Couple that with, in 1947, researchers concluded that seasonal changes in the composition of the virus rendered existing vaccinations ineffective, which led to the four main versions of the flu, A, B, C and D.

See any similarities here? New versions, seasonal changes, and what else is there possibly in common with Influenza? That’s right, booster vaccinations, which also means as with influenza no guarantee you will receive the dose that will be effective against that particular years strain. So, with the coronavirus we have to assume that it will continue to evolve and change as it learns about the world it lives in, and that means vaccines will also evolve and change, and never go away. At least that is what some experts think.

Will coronavirus go away completely? No, it has been around for what some scientists say is centuries, in animals, and the transmission through to humans means it has evolved to the next step. Will scientists, researchers and doctors find a cure, or a vaccine that can contain the virus? The jury is still out on that. Will we need a booster dose every year to give at least some protection against COVID-19? That can be answered with a “probably.” The research is still ongoing, we have two main variants right now delta and omicron. Data shows that delta was more dangerous than earlier variants, at least so far, and pharmaceutical companies and scientists are still conducting the research. 

There is also the political component to the vaccine situation. Countries all over the world are demanding that their leaders “do” something about the coronavirus pandemic, media outlets keep asking questions of these leaders as to what their plans are for combating COVID-19. When it comes to diseases, we human beings have to realize that politicians have absolutely no power over what a virus does, or how it evolves, these leaders can only put short term stopgap measures in place. These look and sound good to the public, but the only real honest solutions lie in science, and the discoveries for defeating or learning how to minimize the spread lies there. I have had lengthy conversations with my own personal physician about COVID and the global pandemic, and his view, as with many other doctors and scientists he has spoken to on the subject is that COVID-19 is here to stay. Just how bad it will get remains to be seen until more data is collected and analyzed so science can devise a comprehensive combat plan.

On a positive note, science will not give up, and there will be solutions on how to deal with this deadly disease, but definitive answers are just out of reach at this time, but the world should rest assured that we will as a species figure out how to survive this malady.

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