Vaccination—When will it come into effect?


Photo: CNBC

The United States has one of the highest COVID vaccination rates in the world at 44% (as of May 1st), and New York State is slightly ahead of the curve at 48%. Each day we’re getting closer to ending the pandemic. Already, we can see real-world examples of vaccine efficacy, and COVID cases are rapidly falling. Israel, which has the highest vaccination rate at 62% (again, as of May 1st), has seen a sudden drop in COVID that suggests they are in the “final phase” of the pandemic. 


While we still have a long way to go in terms of getting everyone vaccinated, this suggests that there is great hope for how good everything will be when we get there. As well, the amount of people we are vaccinating per week is continuously increasing, particularly in NYC. As of May 5th, NYC has given 6.68 million doses of the vaccine. Personally, it seems that every week I learn about someone else I know who has been vaccinated. Vaccination seems like one of those things where you forget it’s happening and then one day, you learn that half the people you know have gotten the shot. COVID cases in NYC haven’t dropped steeply yet like in Israel, where most of the population is vaccinated, but we’re in the final stretch before cases start to fall dramatically.


Because there’s roughly a 6-week period after getting the first dose (assuming everyone who gets the first dose gets the second one on time) before the vaccine reaches its full effectiveness, cases aren’t going to change tremendously until then. However, we can again compare NYC to Israel. 6 weeks ago Israel was only ~10% ahead of where we are now in terms of vaccination rates, and at the moment their 7-day COVID average is in the 300s. Moreover, NYC and Israel have very similar population sizes, so it seems likely that the numbers will be around the same. Put simply, with the data we have many scientists can concur that in 2 months, NYC should be looking pretty good in terms of COVID cases.


So when will we get the vaccine? The FDA is expected to approve the vaccine for 12-15 year olds any day now, and you can check the next edition for an article polling how many Upper Schoolers have been vaccinated.


With so many people getting vaccinated weekly in NYC, we can expect COVID to be much less of an issue in a few months, as it has in Israel with similar vaccination and population sizes. While nobody can say anything for sure, we can be confident that the end of the pandemic is near, or at least close enough that it doesn’t control our life as it has for the past year. Until we get there however, still be cautious—despite all that good news, NYC COVID cases are still relatively high, and even with many venues (such as restaurants and stores) reopening it’s imperative that we still take the precautionary measures we have in the past year. If we’ve made it this far in the pandemic and the end is in sight, there’s no reason to create a sudden spike in cases just to reopen a few months early.