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Scientists will soon follow centuries of progress started with Edward Jenner and the smallpox vaccine and work to create some potential exit from the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although public consumption of these jabs is still some way off, officials and scientists hope to have everyone vaccinated by 2021, paving the way to eradication as they did with measles. Whether or not a vaccine can eradicate a disease depends on its effectiveness, and only some have accomplished this rare feat.
How effective is the measles vaccine?
Efficacy has become the word of the month for November 2020, as three separate vaccine projects delivered highly functional jabs.
In the US, Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccine protected 95 percent of people from COVID-19, while Oxford University announced results from their research this morning.
Their vaccine both protected people from contracting COVID-19 90 percent of the time and also stalled asymptomatic infection.
Despite their high efficacy, the vaccines developed this year aren’t as effective as the measles jab.
According to the NHS, the current version of the MMR protects 99 percent of people from measles and mumps.
Roughly 88 percent of people will also receive protection from mumps.
Full protection takes around two weeks to develop after healthcare providers administer the vaccine.
Could scientists eliminate COVID-19?
The reliability of the measles vaccine has allowed some countries to eliminate the disease.
The UK was once one of these countries and earned its measles-free status from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2017.
However, officials have not successfully carried this on, and the WHO rescinded this status in 2018.
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One of the reasons behind the resurgence in measures cases was a drop in vaccine uptake.
Should more people have chosen to take the vaccine, measles would have remained out of general circulation, as it has never evolved to respond to human efforts to eradicate it.
So to eradicate COVID-19, scientists would need to produce a vaccine with high effectivity, ensure people take it, and the disease would need to remain in its current form.
Of these conditions, scientists have only provisionally met one.
So far, each vaccine has proven effective, but some people have already developed a mistrust of them.
Protests have broken out around the world where people have refused to take a jab, counting on baseless conspiracy theories.
Scientists also remain uncertain about the path COVID-19 could take, as it has already mutated more than once, with further changes recently discovered in minks.
The latter could prove more of a problem, as most people seem happy to take the jab, and 90 percent of people need to take it to create effective herd immunity.
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