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The ‘Forever Virus’ Won't Go Away Until Kids Get Vaccinated

An epidemiologist says the under-12s are key to ending COVID-19

Vaccinations were supposed to end our nightmare, and we’d enjoy a 2021 “summer of freedom.” But when the season ended with some of the highest case and deaths numbers to date, I knew it was time to talk to Larry Brilliant again. Brilliant is CEO of Pandefense Advisory and senior counselor of the Skoll Foundation, and he was part of the global team that helped eradicate smallpox.

We have had several conversations about COVID in the past 18 months in which Brilliant dished out a mix of hard truth, science-grounded analysis, and reassurance that one day we’d be reacquainted with what normal used to be. But not necessarily soon: This summer, he was the lead author of an article in Foreign Affairs that called COVID-19 “The Forever Virus.” Which doesn’t sound very cheerful.

Indeed, living carefully in Marin Country, California, Brilliant, 77, now seems as impatient as the rest of us. Even in the 2010 disaster movie on which he consulted, Contagion, scientists turned the pandemic around quicker than we have with COVID. He’s audibly frustrated after seeing failed policy and the devastating politicization of a viral outbreak. Yet he still reminds us that we’ve come a long way: We have an effective vaccine and a current presidential administration committed to addressing the problem. But obstacles remain, and at the moment, one of the biggest is the presence in school of millions of unvaccinated kids under age 12.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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