Risks from the COVID-19 virus continue to grow around the world. In addition to the rapid spread of the original virus, variant mutations such as the Delta Variant increase the risk both to the vaccinated and unvaccinated. While breakthrough infections are less likely, there is a real risk that a decrease in vaccine efficacy and virus mutations will ultimately lead to future pandemic waves around the globe. Getting the appropriate booster shot against COVID-19 could reduce your risk of suffering an infection from the Delta variant and other variants sure to come. Because the original coronavirus was novel, our ability to fight this virus and all mutations that will arise is extremely limited.
Sadly, there is a dearth of misinformation out there about the risk of the vaccine. There are also many leaders choosing to downplay the risk of getting the virus and the severity of the illness.
Because many people are suffering from stress over the Delta Variant, resistance will likely increase. It’s much easier to express anger over a situation than to admit that you are afraid. Fear is crippling while anger is empowering.
Risks Going Forward
The medical community faces several risks moving forward. First of all, the Delta Variant is more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus. If those who have been vaccinated choose not to get the booster shot, they may lose protection against the variant.
Additionally, there are still many who have not had their first COVID-19, either because the shots are not available for their age group or because they are not convinced it is necessary. These people are at great risk of catching and transmitting the Delta Variant, facing a much more severe infection and suffering more long-term effects. As of August 6, 2021, the Delta Variant is the most common COVID-19 infection in the United States.
We’re Better Prepared
While many in the medical community may despair due to the misinformation surrounding the virus, the mutations, the vaccination and the booster shot, much of the world is better prepared for this outbreak. Access to the proper medical gear for all employees and masks for the general population is much more readily available. Because many responsible citizens got in the habit of masking in 2020, putting the mask back on in 2021 is less of a burden.
The Delta Variant is also hitting the base population of many who have resisted the science of the vaccine and the booster shot. Rates of those choosing to be vaccinated are climbing, but not as fast as the virus is spreading.
Booster Shot Requirements
Everyone who got a COVID-19 vaccination got a card with the date and the manufacturer. The Pfizer and Moderna booster shot option means that those who provided the shots should be able to contact the initial recipients while government authorities arrange for booster shots to be administered.
While there are many businesses that are requiring that clients and employees be able to show proof of vaccination, requiring booster shot certification could generate more resistance to vaccinations overall. Because the misinformation campaign is spreading as fast as the virus, the risk of breakthrough infections will likely rise.
Risks for Fall 2021
The risks for the fall of 2021 must include the return to school of millions of children, administrators, teachers and staff. The politicization of masking, particularly for children under 12 is extremely worrying.
Providing Pfizer and Moderna booster shot access as appropriate in the educational community is critical to keeping schools open and safe. The risk of another school shutdown and the social and economic repercussions should not be underestimated. As noted above, anger is a powerful force. Many of the most economically vulnerable have already suffered greatly during the pandemic. Future shutdowns will increase their risk and their resistance.
Access to quality medical care focused on the pandemic, both mental and physical, is critical as we attempt to find a way forward in these tough times. Resistance to vaccines and boosters will only increase the infection risk around the world. For those interested in going to school to join the healthcare workforce around the globe, consider applying to study with the International Medical Aid program. You could make a world of difference.