While many Americans are still waiting to get the initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines, a report from NBC News suggests that the vaccines people are getting today may be rendered ineffective against virus mutations within the next year.
In a new survey conducted by The People’s Vaccine Alliance, almost a third of 77 epidemiologists, virologists, and infectious disease specialists who were surveyed think the vaccine efficacy window is nine months or less. Less than one in eight said they think variants will not make current vaccines ineffective.
Two-thirds believe we have “a year or less before the virus mutates to the extent that the majority of first-generation vaccines are rendered ineffective and new or modified vaccines are required.” The pool of experts are from some of the world’s leading academic institutions, spanning 28 countries.
The survey found that 88 percent of experts said that “persistent low vaccine coverage in many countries would make it more likely for vaccine-resistant mutations to appear.” Going by the pace of global vaccine administration now, only 10 percent of people in the majority of poor countries will be inoculated in next 12 months.
While the West has developed a number of vaccines—Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca—that are mostly being distributed in the U.S, UK, or Europe, China and Russia have created their own vaccines. As more infectious mutations from the UK, South Africa, and Brazil have begun spreading, vaccine developers have revealed that they are working on booster shots to manage variants.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance is a coalition of over 50 organizations, including Oxfam, UNAIDS, and African Alliance, and pushes for equal worldwide access to COVID vaccines.
This does NOT mean you do not need to get a vaccine now — you do. There’s just a chance you’ll need a booster shot later down the line.