Finally, vaccines are not a magic bullet that will single-handedly end an epidemic. In 1918, as in 2020, a broad spectrum of public health measures was necessary to reduce infection and death rates. In early October 1918, the Board of Statistical Investigation in Massachusetts warned that “the use of a vaccine should not be taken as an excuse for omitting such safeguards” as wearing masks and maintaining good ventilation. This warning from more than a century ago clearly resonates with the likely course of events in the months ahead, as vaccines slowly become available, but it takes many months for even most Americans who want a vaccine to get it. For many months, vaccines will be but one more public health measure essential to living with an epidemic.
Read the entire piece here.