A Vaccine Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect to Be Valuable
What if a vaccine is closer to 50% effective against the novel coronavirus? In The Atlantic, James Hamblin, MD, has a great explainer for why even a vaccine with lower effectiveness could be a useful tool. He writes:
If everyone in a population takes a vaccine that is, say, 70 percent effective, the effects add up quickly. The result is a population that is protected — and that more quickly achieves “herd immunity” than a population with a less effective vaccine. Occasional cases of Covid-19 might arise, but enough people will not contract the virus to prevent widespread outbreaks. When Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, mentioned the possibility of a vaccine being 50 percent effective, he wasn’t saying it as though the vaccine would be a failure. He was saying he would consider it a success — an intervention worth using, and better than nothing. Though, his hope would be to start with a product that’s somewhere closer to 75 percent effective.
Read his full explanation below.