A.In view of the rapidly increasing number of infections, the measures against the coronavirus are being tightened these days. Now the restrictions on public life are one thing, the economic effects quite another. And again and again it is said: We can only return to normal with a vaccine. But that is only the half truth. It still takes until a nationwide vaccination campaign and many questions have to be clarified beforehand.
One thing is certain: the international research community has achieved an immense achievement within a few months. The World Health Organization now has around 200 vaccine projects, around a dozen of which are in the third study with tens of thousands of subjects. Two potential vaccines are already being evaluated by the European Medicines Agency in an accelerated process. One or more approvals could follow in the next few months – and yet this is basically just one more intermediate step.
It will be a long time before everyone who wants to be vaccinated can also be vaccinated. Many vaccine manufacturers have been ramping up their production for a long time, at their own risk, without knowing whether their product will be successful. However, the doses will not be enough directly. Companies and politicians have to make this clear, otherwise false hopes will be aroused.
It is now up to the authorities and institutions to decide which groups can and should be vaccinated first and who, conversely, initially goes empty-handed. Priority must certainly be given to medical and nursing staff who are inevitably exposed to a higher risk through their work. But who comes after? Teachers, civil servants, train and flight attendants who also have a lot of professional contact with changing groups of people? Elderly, people with previous illnesses? Or rather the younger ones, who would no longer endanger the risk patients so much? To make matters worse, not every vaccination will be equally suitable and tolerable for everyone. So far, there are only a few studies on the effect on children.