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No need to sweat vaccination rates



President Trump has said he hopes the federal government can begin distributing a Covid-19 vaccine in October. Many in the public health community are skeptical and argue instead for a more controlled and probably slower release. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have recommended heavy-handed government rationing during the initial launch. Science magazine reports that only half of the US population will eventually have the vaccine, a level too low to achieve herd immunity. Some in the media and the public health community claim that all this still necessitates restrictions on economic activity.

But the pessimism about vaccine prevalence and concerns about widespread vaccination are misleading. The most critical factor for a disease such as Covid-1

9 is not the degree of vaccination or how many require the vaccine, but which requires it. Given that 85% of deaths have occurred in 15% of the population over the age of 65, mortality will fall dramatically if high-risk groups such as the elderly are vaccinated, even though the overall vaccination rate is low. Private demand will push in this direction without broad government intervention.

In general, the demand for a product with a lower price and higher quality increases. Vaccines are no different. In terms of pricing, some Operation Warp Speed ​​contracts will improve recording by requiring free distribution of vaccines. Public and private insurance programs are likely to eliminate repayment.

But the price of money for the vaccine is not the main barrier to broad adoption. The quality attributes that drive the need for vaccines are the effectiveness in preventing infection and safety. The better the vaccine is to reduce the risk of infection and the lower the risk of side effects, the higher the rate of uptake will be. The risk of infection is driven by the spread of the virus and the risk of serious complications, both of which increase demand. There may be no demand for vaccine among some, such as well-known anti-waxers. This is the case for polio; the prevalence of the disease is low and thus the fear of side effects dominates.

This role as the prevalence of vaccine demand explains why vaccine-preventable diseases often come and go in cycles. The vaccination rate shoots up with outbreaks, which limits future illness and falls when the illness is dormant. Analog cycles have occurred with Covid-19. As the number of new cases decreases, private and public preventive measures are simplified, and the disease begins to spread again.


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