The coronavirus vaccines, some perspective

I’m frustrated with the rollout of the coronavirus vaccines in Maryland and the slow pace of progress here. I might write about it. However, it’s important to look at the big picture.

A year ago at this time, the Wuhan coronavirus wasn’t on America’s radar screen. As far as I know, it wasn’t on radar screens anywhere except in China. And the Chinese were mum.

By November, two vaccines had been developed to counter the virus. Both appear to be safe and highly effective. A third reportedly is close to being ready.

In December, the two vaccines were approved for use in America. As of now, late January, 14.3 million Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the Washington Post. That’s 12.5 percent of the “prioritized population (health care workers, other “essential workers,” people 65 and older, and people of any age with certain health conditions) and 4.3 percent of all Americans, again according to the Post.

According to Bloomberg, 17.2 million shots have been administered in the U.S. That’s almost one-third of the total shots given worldwide, according to the same source. Last week, almost one million doses a day were administered in this country.

I’m not aware of any vaccine that has been developed nearly as rapidly as the coronavirus vaccines were. It’s my understanding that in the past it has always taken at least two years, and usually more, to develop a safe and effective vaccine.

I think a great deal of credit should go to the pharmaceutical industry for developing the vaccine and to President Trump for making sure it had the resources to do so. Both the industry and Trump have frequently been maligned and, pre-pandemic, Trump at times was at the forefront of attacks on big pharma.

There are grounds for criticizing both. But we owe both our gratitude for the unprecedentedly rapid development of the anti-coronavirus vaccines.

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