Vaccination dispersal strategy can slow the spread

As a biologist, I have been watching the effects of the pandemic from the sidelines over the past year.

What I have gained from this experience is understanding how basic knowledge of evolutionary biology is important in understanding how this virus operates. Recent studies have suggested that the vaccine should use dose-sparing strategies to spread partial immunity over a wider range of people instead of giving the full double dosage to half as many individuals in efforts to prevent escape variants from occurring.

There is preliminary evidence suggesting that intermediate doses would allow for a wider audience to receive partial vaccination, thus slowing the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 resulting in less opportunity for new variants to arise in the population (Cobey et al. 2021). If we can reduce the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 there would be less chance of a beneficial mutation increasing in the population and creating a new variant.

Instead, in this smaller population size, the variant would be more likely to be eliminated by chance, also known as genetic drift. It is because of this new information that I would urge the health clinics and the county to take this into consideration when planning the dispersal strategy for the vaccine in our community.

Reference: Cobey, Sarah, Daniel B. Larremore, Yonatan H. Grad, and Marc Lipsitch. 2021. “Concerns about SARS-CoV-2 evolution should not hold back efforts to expand vaccination.” Pre-print, Harvard University.

Malia Machado