In an interview about COVID-19 vaccines, Richard Marlink, the director of Rutgers Global Health Institute, discusses that people may need to get vaccinated annually as well as the importance of a global approach to controlling the pandemic. The following is an excerpt from the story published by ROI-NJ:

Marlink said allowing the virus to continue in other countries will let the pandemic continue. He cited the variant found in the U.K. in recent weeks as not being the first — and certainly not the last time — the virus will evolve. And that was before a Colorado man — who has not traveled — was reported to have the variant.

“The more we let viruses replicate, the more they evolve,” he said. “There’s evidence that the U.S., early on, had genetic mutations that made the virus more infectious from the Washington state outbreak that then spread to the East Coast.”

And getting the world vaccinated will be a challenge, Marlink explained.

“Most developing countries, by definition, don’t have the resources that middle- or higher-income countries have,” he said. “So, resources are always a huge issue. Even if and when donor countries help by giving the vaccines, there’s a readiness issue, especially for developing countries: ‘Are you ready? The vaccine lands at your airport? Are you ready for it?’”

Marlink said recent World Health Organization guidance indicated that developing countries are only ready for about a third of the things they will need to do to distribute the vaccine.

“It doesn’t mean they won’t be able to be ready, it just means that it’s a huge undertaking,” he said.

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