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Summer 2022 - Vaccines

Far-Reaching Effects of the Pandemic

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Patrick M. Schmidt

 LONG last, COVID-19 appears to be changing from a pandemic to being endemic. Still, there is no question that our more than two-year ordeal has profoundly impacted the world and has cost millions of lives. Now, with the trend in vaccine uptake (75 percent, according to McKinsey & Company’s Consumer Health Insights Survey conducted in February) and the ending of lockdowns, it might seem the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are coming to an end. But that would be far from reality. In fact, both positive and negative effects on society will be far-reaching, especially for healthcare. In this issue, we highlight three that are notable.

One negative outcome of the pandemic was created by the swift development of effective vaccines to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which initiated a societal divide between those who trusted the science behind the rushed vaccines and those who mistrusted it. What’s more, the use of vaccine passports, which have been adopted in some areas and proposed in others, widened this divide. In our article “Vaccine Passports: Vaccination Confirmation or a Privacy Concern?” (p.16), we define vaccine passports, as well as discuss the views of proponents and opponents.

No matter the side individuals take in the vaccine passport debate, there’s no question that the speed at which COVID-19 vaccines were developed was a monumental scientific achievement. According to McKinsey & Company’s COVID-19: Implications for Business briefing note #98, “The effort to develop and distribute vaccines demonstrated how much can be achieved with global collaboration, lessons that can be applied to ambitious improvements in well-being.” Of course, what made it possible to develop these first vaccines so quickly was mRNA technology. And, as we note in our article “The Promise of mRNA Vaccines for Disease Prevention” (p.22), while this technology was still in development, the pandemic served as the catalyst scientists needed to complete their research. Now, in addition to yielding COVID-19 vaccines, the technology is a viable method to produce novel vaccines for many deadly diseases, including influenza, shingles, cytomegalovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, Epstein-Barr virus, HIV and cancer.

Conversely, lockdowns put in place to curb the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus resulted in a host of negative consequences now being referred to as “immunity debt.” As we explain in our article “Immunity Debt: A Catalyst for the Development of Infections and Autoimmune Disease?” (p.26), unprecedented reductions in routine care visits, as well as nonemergency community-acquired viral and bacterial infections, resulted in the loss of herd immunity, which could have repercussions for years to come. In fact, it is hypothesized that reduced and delayed infections may eventually result in higher incidences of autoimmune disease.

As always, we hope you enjoy the additional articles in this issue of BioSupply Trends Quarterly, and find them both relevant and helpful to your practice.

Helping Healthcare Care,

Patrick M. Schmidt

Publisher

Patrick M. Schmidt
Patrick M. Schmidt is the publisher of BioSupply Trends Quarterly magazine.