Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Gregory Poland has said that many generations to come will possibly be getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as the pandemic was far from being declared an endemic.
Dr Poland, who studies the vaccine response’s immunogenetics, told MarketWatch and Barron’s on Wednesday that the current generation’s “great-great-great-grandchildren” would continue to seek immunization against the ongoing pandemic that has had the world in its grip for a third year. He elaborated with the example of the influenza virus, stating that if someone got their flu shot this fall, they would be infected with a virus strain that caused the 1918 influenza pandemic.
He further said that there was an “animal reservoir” carrying the COVID-19 virus, as seen in white-tailed deer in the US, which made the chances for the pandemic to turn to an endemic, quite meagre.
Dr Poland’s comments come at a time when there have been general questions regarding when the pandemic would attain endemic status. A pandemic is a global health emergency, which brings with it an unpredictability about severity of disease and mortality rates. An endemic on the other hands is when there is a relatively stable version of the disease, typically localized to a specific region, with seasonal fluctuations. As examples, COVID-19 is a pandemic, whereas malaria is endemic to certain countries.
While Dr Poland believes that the pandemic’s endemicity is way off in the future, others think differently.
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, US, told CTV last week that while endemicity wouldn’t be immediate, it could occur after the omicron surge had passed. She predicted the shift could start happening for higher income countries like Canada sometime late February or March but would be contingent upon the reduction in hospitalizations.
According to global COVID-19 figures as of January 21, there have been 343 million global infections since the pandemic began and about 5.57 million deaths.