Pandemic to epidemic: Why one Indiana doctor says the coronavirus is here to stay

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Some are calling the coronavirus vaccine the “freedom shot.” But health experts are saying not so fast.

We’re not in the clear just yet. In fact, it’s possible we never will be. 

“We know it’s very difficult to eradicate viral diseases,” Dr. Amy Beth Kressel, infectious disease specialist at Eskenazi Health, told News 8. “We were successful with smallpox. We’re getting very close with polio and measles. But we haven’t eradicated them and COVID is so difficult because so many people can be sick and not know it. I definitely think [the coronavirus] is something we will have. We won’t eradicate it.”

Health experts have also raised the question if COVID-19 booster shots will be in the public’s near future. Kressel says this could be the case, but we first have to understand how the vaccines work –particularly against the new variants spreading like wildfire through the country. 

“There’s the South African and Brazilian variants where the vaccines seem to have lower antibody levels that are active, but may still be good enough,” she said. “There still needs to be more data about that. And then there are two new strains from California that we don’t have a lot of information about. So, there is work going on now if we might need boosters.”

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 6 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Facebook @DrMaryGillis and Instagram @reportergillis.