COVID-19 vaccines will likely stick around for long-haul

Posted at 9:52 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 23:28:37-04

CAPE CORAL, FLA — Here's the thing, as much as you're probably sick of hearing about it, experts say COVID-19 is here to stay.

"The virus itself isn't going to go away," said Robert Hawkes, the Director for the Physician Assistant Program at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Hawkes says this is because unlike diseases like smallpox or polio, COVID-19 mutates a lot.

"Covid-19, very similar to the influenza virus, is always changing," he said.

And that also means, unlike smallpox and polio vaccines, we'll probably have to keep getting COVID-19 vaccines.

If he had to guess, Hawkes tells FOX 4 that we'll be getting the COVID-19 vaccines every year, much like the flu vaccine.

"Probably next spring is when a lot of these boosters will become available," he said.

If the case, then it begs the following question: while COVID-19 vaccines aren't widely required for adults, will they be required for kids in public schools?

Hawkes thinks so.

"[it's] probably going to be one of the normal standard vaccines," he said.

And it looks like state law backs him up, it requires the state department of health to "ensure that all children in this state are immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases."

Right now, there are six required vaccines for K-12 students in public schools, which cover a wide range of diseases such as polio, hepatitis b, measles, mumps, and tetanus.

That said, if COVID-19 vaccines are being added to the list, it likely won't happen this year as the vaccine is still being studied in children.

"By the time we get to the end of this calendar year and the first quarter of 2022. We'll have enough information regarding safety and efficacy to vaccinate children of any age," said Chief Medical Advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci.