COVID-19 vaccines will save lives and will save your business too
This is not the first time a global pandemic has transformed life as we know it – history is chequered with periods when disease went on the rampage, sweeping away the lives and livelihoods of millions.
But this time it’s different – unlike the Black Death in the Middle Ages, bubonic plague, or even the so-called ‘Spanish flu’ a century ago, this time we have an ace up our sleeves. COVID-19 vaccines will enable us to limit the deaths and are critical to reducing damage to the economy.
Massive human triumph
In the endless war between human beings and bugs, bugs in the form of bacteria, viruses, and parasites have been on the winning side in countless battles.
The casualties from this war have dwarfed the numbers felled by military conflict – estimates vary but it’s thought the ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic killed at least 50 million people. The real number may have been far higher.
The Black Death – caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, spread by body lice (not fleas on rats as previously supposed) – ripped through Europe in the 14th century and killed up to half the population. Just think what this would mean in Australia today, if an illness wiped out 12 million people: it would be as if every living soul on the east coast had died.
In comparison, the approximate thousand Australian deaths so far due to COVID-19 represent 0.008% of the total population.
In the 1980s, public health students listened to lectures by eminent professors excited and thrilled by the fact that the World Health Assembly had just declared smallpox eradicated – eliminated – and no cases of naturally occurring smallpox have happened since.
Smallpox had been routinely killing millions of people every year since the dawn of time, through the slow torture of painful, pustulent sores erupting all over your face and body, including in your eyes, mouth, and throat.
The worldwide rollout and delivery of the smallpox vaccine was the final triumph culminating in a long process of human curiosity, ingenuity, exploration of theories, experimentation, and dedicated work. The extent of the human suffering it prevented is incalculable.
We are lucky enough to live in an age where we can stand on the shoulders of past geniuses and develop and test a vaccine and roll it out in record time, without taking shortcuts on the testing.
The extraordinary speed with which scientists have equipped us with a whole suite of COVID-19 vaccines is because never in the history of the world have so many people worked so hard on one single thing: to deliver an outcome – a solution to our problem.