Yale Expert: Covid-19 Vaccines Offer Hope, But No Quick Fix

Dec 9, 2020

A Yale public health expert said he expects it’ll be a long time before the COVID-19 vaccine makes a difference in day-to-day life in the United States.

Sten Vermund, an epidemiologist in the Yale School of Public Health, said it could be next fall before COVID-19 vaccines can meaningfully affect the pandemic.

“Will Yale be treating COVID in the spring the way it treated COVID in the Autumn? The answer is yes," Vermund said. "I just hear all this panting of enthusiasm around vaccines, and we’re thrilled to have these vaccines. But it isn’t imminent. It’s not within the next three-four months.”

Public health experts have urged people to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing, even after frontline workers and elderly residents begin to get vaccinated. Just over 60 percent of Americans say they will get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s widely available, according to an NPR poll released on Wednesday.

Vermund said thinks it’s reasonable to require health care workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s widely available. He said it’s critical for health care workers to be immunized.

“We have pregnant women, we have immunosuppressed cancer patients, we have immunosuppressed HIV patients," Vermund said. "Why should a health care worker risk the health of any of these patients of theirs just because they don’t want to get a vaccine?”

A Yale study released last month showed manufacturing, delivering and educating the public on the vaccine will be as big a challenge as developing it.