We always want the best. The best burger (people always debate In-n-out, Five Guys, Shake Shack. Some people have even driven fiven hours to get an In-n-out burger). The best school (“where does your kid go?”). The best medical care (“I want that treatment. I saw it on TV. What do you mean you don’t have it?”).
But are there times when the best isn’t actually best? Have you heard that “the best is the enemy of the good?” You may think this English isn’t well-written, that the author isn’t a native English speaker. And you would be correct. As it is attributed to Voltaire, whose actual name is Francois-Marie Arouet. Meaning he is French.
Moderna, one of the companies racing to create a vaccine for coronavirus, hosted a conference call. During the call many scientists and doctors discussed strategies for creating a vaccine. And one of them as the idea of a “mediocre vaccine.”
Now vaccines are known to have varying levels of effectiveness. A vaccine that is 50% effective means half of the people who get it won’t get infected (this is one definition, there is another one as well that is a little more complicated). That would not be considered to be a good vaccine. An effectiveness of 95%? Now that is a good vaccine.
The problem is creating a more effective vaccine is harder. Creating one not as good is easier. As Voltaire said striving for perfection gets in the way of creating something that is good. Or, if I may extend the quote, striving for perfection gets in the way of settling for something good enough.
Any vaccine would be better than no vaccine. Even a vaccine that is only 50% effective is better than nothing. And it would be a lot easier to create something mediocre than to create something good. The only problem is the governmental agencies don’t think that way.
Oh, and another reason getting something out sooner is better, even if it isn’t wonderful? Because of the principle of technology and progress. Next year, something even better is going to come out.