The sole reliance on vaccination as a primary strategy to mitigate COVID-19 and its adverse consequences needs to be re-examined, especially considering the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant and the likelihood of future variants. Other pharmacological and non-pharmacological interven- tions may need to be put in place alongside increasing
vaccination rates. Such course correction, especially with regards to the policy narrative, becomes paramount with emerging scientific evidence on real world effectiveness of the vaccines.
For instance, in a report released from the Minis- try of Health in Israel, the effectiveness of 2 doses of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine against prevent- ing COVID-19 infection was reported to be 39% ,
substantially lower than the trial efficacy of 96% . It is also emerging that immunity derived from the Pfizer-BioN- Tech vaccine may not be as strong as immunity acquired through recovery from the COVID-19 virus . A substan- tial decline in immunity from mRNA vaccines 6-months post immunization has also been reported . Even though vaccinations offers protection to individuals against severe hospitalization and death, the CDC reported an increase from 0.01 to 9% and 0 to 15.1% (between January to May 2021) in the rates of hospitalizations and deaths, respec- tively, amongst the fully vaccinated .
In summary, even as efforts should be made to encour- age populations to get vaccinated it should be done so with humility and respect. Stigmatizing populations can do more harm than good. Importantly, other non-pharmacological prevention efforts (e.g., the importance of basic public health hygiene with regards to maintaining safe distance or handwashing, promoting better frequent and cheaper forms of testing) needs to be renewed in order to strike the bal- ance of learning to live with COVID-19 in the same manner we continue to live a 100 years later with various seasonal alterations of the 1918 Influenza virus.