How Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine Might Work

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We're all desperate for a return to normal, but it's going to be a long time before we'll all be comfortable enough to live life like we used to. One factor that many say will assuage their fears of the coronavirus is a vaccine. If we finally achieve above 70 percent herd immunity, the disease may at last have nowhere else to go.

Getting to a working vaccine will take a lot of work and international cooperation, though — and distributing it will be a whole new level of complication. A trio of Washington Post reporters have produced a deep dive into the medical and political considerations behind a potential vaccine against COVID-19, and we should be uneasy about what that future looks like as of now. As the Post puts it, "The scenario public health experts fear most is a worldwide fight in which manufacturers sell only to the highest bidders, rich countries try to buy up the supplies, and nations where manufacturers are located hoard vaccines for their own citizens."

Meanwhile, a Harvard Medical School professor is urging governments to figure out ways of helping the public navigate the risk that exists until COVID is eradicated or controlled. "What Americans need now is a manual on how to have a life in a pandemic," writes Julia Marcus in The Atlantic. "And without a nuanced approach to risk, abstinence-only messaging can inadvertently stigmatize anything less than 100-percent risk reduction." Check in with your local or state public health department for guidance, and keep wearing masks outside the home, even if it's unpleasant. Opening back up is going to be a long process, but the road to vaccinations could be even longer.