07 Jun COVID-19 Update: Vaccines, viral variants and the path to successful re-opening
Paul Ahlquist is director of the Morgridge Institute’s John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Center for Research in Virology, and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Rapid change on the public health front has been a hallmark for over a year, and recent weeks have brought a particular flurry of developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
While a number of these are positive, the pandemic threat is not yet contained, and continued, well-chosen actions remain essential if we are to transition as quickly as possible to a safer, productive future.
To help put these matters in perspective, the discussion below outlines the interrelated issues of the tremendous personal and societal value of COVID-19 vaccination; the implications of new coronavirus variants; and how safeguarding health in the modern world depends on controlling the pandemic not just in individual countries but across the globe.
These comments are based on the best current information, but understanding will continue to advance through the massive research and public health efforts against the pandemic. Accordingly, we strongly recommend following a broad mix of well-validated information sources on these topics.
Vaccines: Society’s lifesaver in the pandemic sea
The irreplaceable bright light guiding us to the end of the COVID-19 tunnel has been the unprecedently rapid development of multiple safe and effective SARS-COV-2 vaccines. Expanding vaccination to the highest possible percentage of the population is the indispensable path to future safety for individuals, families, the nation and the world.