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Why vaccines won't bring a quick end to the pandemic

Medical experts say it will take time to end a global pandemic.

ATLANTA — Vaccines are a ray of hope to many, but health experts are saying vaccines alone will not bring a quick end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global aspect of the pandemic is a major concern. The United States is inching toward the day vaccines will be available to everyone. Some countries are just now beginning their vaccine campaigns.

“We have to vaccinate the world and that’s going to be a challenge,” says Dr. Carlos del Rio of the Emory Vaccine Center. “Will it end the pandemic in the US? Yeah, maybe, but there may be a raging pandemic in Mexico and Brazil.”

Even in the U.S., many are hesitant when offered the vaccine.

Healthcare experts believe at least 70% of the world will need to develop immunity, either naturally or with the vaccine, to significantly damage the virus’ ability to spread.

“There’s uncertainty about the length of the immunity both in terms of natural immunity and immunity from the vaccine,” says Dr. Harry Heiman of Georgia State University’s School of Public Health.

Dr. Heiman says the vaccine is still a reason to celebrate.

“You should celebrate by continuing to be socially responsible and respectful,” says Heiman. “Continue to wear masks.”

The big celebration will come at the end of the tunnel.