Before the coronavirus outbreak made its way across the globe, healthcare experts were usually up against groups that are against vaccination. This movement is largely observed in western countries as people claim that the practice of inoculation can have myriad side effects on both adults and children. However, this has been debunked by medical journals and actual evidence of its advantages. Now, amid the COVID-19 health crisis, these so-called anti-vaxxers seem to be at an impasse.

Given the highly contagious nature of SARS-CoV-2, there are limited options available to prevent transmission. Healthcare workers and first responders are encouraged to properly gear up in PPEs to minimise their risk of infection. Meanwhile, the rest are urged to isolate themselves indoors unless there is a need to go out for essential items. When in public, wearing face masks and social distancing should be observed.

It should be noted that these are just safety measures in place to slow down the spread of the virus. A vaccine for COVID-19 is yet to be developed, but there are ongoing studies regarding treatments that can help patients recover quickly. Some clinical trials are reportedly about to end, but it is still not known if there are any promising results.

In an article published by the Independent, although the pandemic might have changed the mindset for the majority of anti-vaxxers, there are still individuals who remain sceptical about the benefits of a coronavirus vaccine. Vaccine Confidence Project founder Professor Heidi Larson stated: "For those people with deep seated views, I think this has made them deeper." The findings were based on data gathered from millions of social media posts made daily.

"The big difference is that this is a very visceral, real and tangible disease threat, whereas a lot of the childhood diseases vaccines prevent are less evident to parents," stated Larson. "That doesn't work with COVID-19. That's a very real threat. For those weighing any risk of the vaccine over the risk of the disease, the equation is totally different with this one," she added.

coronavirus vaccine clinical trials
Clinical trials on vaccines against the new coronavirus COVID-19 were approved in Germany and launched in Britain Photo: AFP / Thibault Savary

Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) points out that "vaccine hesitancy" is a huge threat globally. Hopefully, an understanding of the devastation brought about by the coronavirus will change the minds of some who are still on the fence against vaccinations.