August 27, 2020
Principles or Practicality?
- Perhaps the feeling that the work is being rushed is part of the reason many are expressing concern about receiving a vaccine that is not even available yet.
- Of course, those on the verge of succumbing to COVID-19 are probably less concerned about propriety in testing, and understandably so.
- Since we have already embraced treatments that have not been properly validated, will a vaccine become available under those same conditions?
Traditionally, standards have been something we should aspire to, rather than resent as being foisted upon us. But there has been some change in the last six months. Traditions fly out the window when we are desperate, and these are undoubtedly desperate times. For example, standards of mask wearing are being sullied everywhere you turn, whether it’s blatant disregard, or the lazy nose-out version of substandard mask wearing.
Because we all want this to be over, it is somewhat startling to realize the significant number of individuals who plan to decline a vaccine when it becomes available. Perhaps the feeling that the work is being rushed is part of the reason many are expressing concern about receiving a vaccine that is not even available yet. Of course, the sooner a vaccine is available the better, as long as the quality and safety are not compromised.
But as much as a vaccine, and of course, effective treatments are desirable things, it is scary to be first, scary even to be in the first wave. The rigorous testing and trials that precede most medical advancements help alleviate our concerns, but in the midst of this pandemic, we have become so desperate for relief that we are speeding through customary processes, if not bypassing them completely.
While convalescent plasma is being used in the treatment of some coronavirus patients, there is much debate regarding the lack of testing regarding its efficacy. Although testing is proceeding in the meantime, there is some concern about the fact that we don’t have as much information as we ideally should before proceeding with any new treatment. Although, those on the verge of succumbing to COVID-19 are probably less concerned about propriety in testing, and understandably so. And of course, medical professionals must be trusted to use their best judgements in unchartered territory.
Since we have already embraced treatments that have not been properly validated, will a vaccine become available under those same conditions? What will we do if we have to choose between an iffy vaccine and continuing to hide away in our homes? Or, to put it more painfully, between an iffy vaccine and paying the mortgage? It seems inevitable that pandemic assistance will dry up pretty quickly once a vaccine is available, if it even lasts that long.
As much as we long for the day when we can take a poke in the arm and be done with it, we need to be able to trust that said poke will be safe and effective. And such trust lies in the process by which a vaccine is produced.
Is sooner better? Of course. But safer is best. And demonstrably is imperative.