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It’s been over a year since the outbreak, but we still haven’t been able to defeat the virus. According to experts, the pandemic will not be permanent, but we also need to learn to live with Covid-19. So what does it mean to live with coronavirus and what awaits us after the pandemic?

Co-founder and medical director of BioNTech “After that, you will need to get a Coronavirus vaccine every year, just like you get a seasonal flu vaccine every year…”he made an important statement. We’ve heard similar statements from some experts before.


“There are hints that we will live with this virus for a certain period of time. According to the current results, we can predict that Covid-19 will continue in the seasonal disease position, even if it is not in the form of a pandemic for the next 3-4 years,” said Professor, Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology of the Black Sea Technical University.

1. Are we going to get the Covid-19 vaccine every year, like the flu vaccine?

To answer this question, we first need to look at the history of coronaviruses. Virologists discovered these viruses in the late 1930s. Today we know 6 different coronavirus. These viruses can be listed as HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63, HKU1-CoV, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

In 2019, the virus that caused a pandemic and was called SARS-CoV-2 was added to this table, the number increased to 7. These viruses, whose genetic materials are RNA, normally make an upper respiratory tract infection as a class.

There are people who are seasonally infected with coronavirus during the winter months. Of course, we’re not talking about SARS-CoV-2, but about the other coronaviruses we mentioned above. Since these can cause infections in us every year, the antibodies against these viruses are not permanent. So we can call coronaviruses a class of viruses that we can’t create permanent immunity to.

It is possible that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which belongs to this family, may also have such a character or appear in different ways by constantly creating new variants by making mutations similar to influenza. Even if we have antibodies to an infection or vaccine that we used to have, there’s a chance that they won’t protect us. For this reason, we are likely to be faced with the condition of getting the Covid-19 vaccine every year, such as the flu vaccine.

2. Will vaccines change as the virus changes shape?

Depending on the characteristics of the new variants created by the changing virus, the content of the vaccine will also change. As long as the ability to create infections continues, newly formed antigenic properties, that is, developing antibodies, must be suitable for new viruses. Then this new structure needs to be integrated into vaccines.

3. Variant, we always think of the’ more deadly virus’. In the future, can variants also appear as a’ reduced-effect virus’?

Mutations are changes caused by the genetic characters of RNA viruses. In RNA viruses, this occurs very often. These mutations contribute to the virus when they are significant, and when they are meaningless, they damage the virus.

So mutations don’t always happen harmfully.

When mutations are significant, the virus lives, and if the newly acquired trait increases its pathogenity, it gives it strength. But the mutation can also develop against the virus, and instead of making a change that supports its virulence, it causes it to disappear.

Since Covid-19 disease began, these changes have been occurring in the virus. Many of the mutations are erased, but some of them appear as variants because they occur significantly. It is possible that viruses that we call variants can also mutate and disappear. The important point here will be to reduce the transmission. As these viruses are transmitted from person to person, the potential for mutations also increases.

4. Will we continue to live with coronavirus in our next life? What awaits us?

At the moment, the fire is large and flaming. In fighting this fire, we are trying to extinguish the flame in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization and our Ministry of Health. We have to put out the flames, not even small embers. As long as we leave, the fire tends to grow; it constantly infects, creating large flames as before. After that, we are waiting for a more careful life, to continue wearing masks a little longer, to continue to follow the rules of Hygiene and a period when protection is well perceived and practiced.

There are hints that we will live with this virus for a certain period of time. According to current results, we can predict that Covid-19 will continue in a seasonal disease position, even if it is not in the form of a pandemic for the next 3-4 years. In these years, when Covid-19 continues, it is possible to say that vaccines should also be prepared according to the form of the virus and that people should be kept immune.

Vaccines are very important at this point. If we vaccinate the entire population of the world, we will break the transmission of the virus, reducing the likelihood of mutations. It is of great importance that community immunity is formed in a short time. And the vaccine needs to be done quickly. Because as the time goes on, the chances of the virus surviving increase.

5. If the vaccination is not fast, it will be the turn of those who should have the third Vaccine, while there are those who have not been given the first dose. What can this cause?

The need for a third dose of vaccines is seen as a theoretical fact. If people lose their immunity, the effect of the first vaccines will disappear, they will be sensitive again, and the third dose of the vaccine will need to be administered.

This, in turn, will lead to a serious increase in vaccine consumption. Such a situation can lead to economic difficulties as well as the health sector. That’s where the importance of rapid vaccination comes in. It is necessary to vaccinate 70-80 percent of society in 6 months before people lose their antibodies.

6. How Long Will the issue of how long we should get the Covid-19 vaccine every year be valid? Will it be optional after a while?

Yes, it is possible to establish such a theory. This disease will not continue as a pandemic. After a certain period of time, it will turn into a regional or local disease that we call endemia. Each country will calculate its own risk and create a specific vaccination program, as in the same influenza disease. We do not think that this pandemic will last for many years, but we predict that it will be able to maintain its power, albeit 50 percent, for a few more years.

7. How will complete shutdown affect the reduction of the virus?

As all experts, we address the importance of complete closure. The goal in the complete shutdown is to prevent the virus from passing to another. But because there was a complete shutdown and the transmission decreased, people do not become immune. The biggest weapon in making people Immune is vaccination.

8. How long do we keep wearing masks?

You have to be able to think about life together with the mask. It’s more about how we live with it than getting rid of it. The mask has prevented many flu diseases, angina. One of the reasons Far Eastern societies were successful in combating the pandemic was that they were able to live with the mask. Especially during periods of seasonal diseases, the use of masks is very common in Far Eastern countries.

We may also need to learn to continue life together with the mask after the pandemic process.

The mask not only protects you from Covid-19. For example, tuberculosis is a respiratory disease. About 15-20 percent of people in Turkey are infected with this disease, that is, a carrier of the virus. Who knows how many people became infected on the same journey as these patients, in the same environment, inhaling the same air. The mask also protects us from air-borne diseases.

9. Does the mask harm health?

Of course, wearing a mask all the time is also not right for health. You can’t wear a mask outdoors where there’s no one around, there’s no crowd. But let’s give an example as follows; Istiklal Street is also seen as open air, but it is at least as risky as an indoor environment because it is too crowded. If we say that there is no need to wear masks in the open air, people can take off their masks in crowded places such as Istiklal Caddesi in Istanbul by saying “in the open air anyway”, and then we cannot prevent infections in Turkey.

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President of Organ Transplant Center at MedicalPark Hospital Antalya

Turkey's world-renowned organ transplant specialist. Dr. Demirbaş has 104 international publications and 102 national publications.

Physician's Resume:

Born on August 7, 1963 in Çorum, Prof. Dr. Alper Demirbaş has been continuing his work as the President of MedicalPark Antalya Hospital Organ Transplantation Center since 2008.

Prof. who performed the first tissue incompatible kidney transplant in Turkey, the first blood type incompatible kidney transplant, the first kidney-pancreas transplant program and the first cadaveric donor and live donor liver transplant in Antalya. Dr. As of August 2016, Alper Demirbaş has performed 4900 kidney transplants, 500 liver transplants and 95 pancreas transplants.

In addition to being the chairman of 6 national congresses, he has also been an invited speaker at 12 international and 65 national scientific congresses. Dr. Alper Demirbaş was married and the father of 1 girl and 1 boy.


Eczacibasi Medical Award of 2002, Akdeniz University Service Award of 2005, Izder Medical Man of the Year Award of 2006, BÖHAK Medical Man of the Year Award of 2007, Sabah Mediterranean Newspaper Scientist of the Year Award of 2007, ANTIKAD Scientist of the Year Award of 2009, Social Ethics Association Award of 2010, Işık University Medical Man of the Year Award of 2015, VTV Antalya's Brand Value Award of 2015.


Doctor of Medicine Degree Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine Ankara, General Surgeon Ministry of Health Turkey EKFMG (0-477-343-8), University of Miami School of Medicine Member of Multiple Organ Transplant, ASTS Multiorgan Transplant Scholarship. Lecturer at Kyoto University. Lecturer at University of Essen, Research assistant at the University of Cambridge .

Professional Members:

American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American Transplantation Society Nominated, Middle East and Southern Africa Council Transplantation Society 2007, International Liver Transplantation Association, Turkish Transplantation Association, Turkish Society of Surgery, Turkish Hepatobiliary Surgery Association.


Our website contents consist of articles approved by our Web and Medical Editorial Board with the contributions of our physicians. Our contents are prepared only for informational purposes for public benefit. Be sure to consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Medically Reviewed by Professor Doctor Alper Demirbaş
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