Even With A Vaccine, We Still Need Rapid Tests To End Covid-19

Yesterday, an independent FDA advisory panel gave Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine—already approved in Britain, Canada, and Saudi Arabia—its vote of confidence, setting it up to be authorized as early as this weekend for emergency use in the United States. Their recommendation extends to anyone age 16 and over, with health workers and long-term care residents first in line to get vaccinated.

Sadly, the approval of a vaccine will not mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic in this country or any other—not if the public health measures we’ve mounted against the disease are left in their current state of dysfunction and disrepair. One intervention that is absolutely critical, yet in the US still severely lacking, is rapid testing. Beyond social distancing, mask wearing, and frequent handwashing—beyond the vaccine itself—rapid testing is what can give us the momentum we need to outmaneuver the virus that, up until now, has bested us at every turn.

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Originally published on Forbes (December 11, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.