or the first time in what feels like forever, there is some genuinely good news about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old woman in Britain, became the first person in the world to receive the Covid-19 vaccine shot outside of a trial.
The vaccine was developed by international pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and BioNTech and according to Reuters, Britain has already ordered 40 million doses.
The significance of this development should be self-evident. Since the virus went global at the beginning of the year, one of biggest priorities of just about every government and pharmaceutical company has been to develop an effective vaccine.
However, this is the first time the vaccine has been used outside of trial conditions so it remains to be seen how well it works on the massive scale required.
If all goes well, this could finally be the crucial moment when we begin to push back the spread of a virus that has managed to bring the entire world to a grinding halt.
That is, of course, assuming people take it. Sadly, this pandemic has seen an explosion of conspiracy theories – that the virus doesn’t exist, that doctors are fudging the numbers to make it look worse than it is and, most relevant to this discussion, that vaccines are part of some evil plot.
Some say it’s an attempt by Bill Gates to inject you with a special microchip to track your every move and biometric info. This is kind of funny when you realise most people who believe this have a smartphone which already does most of that.
Others are just your typical anti-vaccer talking points – it will make you more sick; it will make you sterile; it will cause autism; it will poison your wells; it will burn your crops and lay a plague upon your house, and so forth.
As easy as it is to just pass these arguments off as baseless nonsense (which they certainly are), sadly there are enough believers that it could literally make the difference between truly eliminating Covid-19 and not.
Before the pandemic, the US was experiencing a massive measles outbreak across the country because, you guessed it, parents were refusing to vaccinate their children.
Now, obviously, it is important to maintain some level of scepticism about the motives of giant multinational corporations whose motives are suspect at best.
However, there’s a big difference between valid criticism and completely rejecting scientific reality.
The only way to ensure we beat this virus is to achieve a level of herd immunity as soon as possible, which means getting vaccinated.
Hopefully enough people realise the importance of this.