Next to clean water, no single intervention has had such a dramatic effect on decreasing mortality as has the widespread introduction of vaccines (Howson, Howe, & Fineberg, 1991). The World Health Organization (WHO) describes immunization as a “key component of primary health care and an indisputable human right,” as well as “one of the best health investments money can buy” (World Health Organization, 2020). Vaccines play a critical role in the prevention and management of the outbreak of infectious diseases. The rapid spread of COVID-19 during the months-long wait for a vaccine have highlighted their importance to public health.
If COVID-19 were a Shakespearean play, the administration of the vaccine would ideally be the final act, and widespread adoption and effectiveness, the epilogue. However, just like Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, this play may be also be left unfinished. According to the WHO, at least 198 COVID-19 vaccines are currently in the development pipeline, with 44 currently undergoing clinical evaluation (2020). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, M.D., recently stated a date to a possible “normal” is tricky at best (McCarthy, 2020).