Our View: Staking Everything On The Vaccine? Hedge Your Bet

Opinion

In less than two weeks, most adults will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. There are a lot of people betting that, once they get their shot, life will return to normal.

Think for a minute before you lay down that wager.

It will be a real triumph when everyone eligible to receive a vaccine gets one. The speedy development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines is a public health victory the likes of which we’ve never seen before. It really is the long-touted light at the end of the tunnel. But even if it continues without any glitches, the vaccine roll-out won’t be fast enough to keep ahead of the more-transmissible variants that are rapidly becoming the predominant strains of the coronavirus. We’re betting on a race, and the stakes are high.

So consider this: We all have the power to stop the virus in its tracks, no matter what variant we’re exposed to. It’s as simple as wearing double masks, keeping socially distant, avoiding gatherings of people, washing our hands and getting tested and staying home when we feel sick. If getting a vaccine has felt like a long shot, these precautions are a sure thing.

In any other year, we’d be reporting on the 2020-21 flu season: how many people were killed by influenza and how well the vaccine worked. But you won’t be reading that story this year. That’s because the flu season was virtually nonexistent – and it’s not because many people got flu shots. It’s because so many of us were practicing COVID-19 protocols, the flu bug didn’t have a chance. There’s proof positive that the protocols work.

So let’s hedge our bets. By all means, get vaccinated as soon as you can. But keep up the other precautions until we’re really over the finish line.