Yeah but for all those ones you listed, you don't need to take a new booster every 6 months for the rest of your life like this is looking like, at least with the sh*tty mRNA vaccines. Amazing tech, but obviously still in beta with studies that aren't playing out well in the real world. Didn't the initial data show way longer than 6 months? That's barely a vaccine. I bet even if we did start vaccinating kids under 12, it would still spread like wildfire anyway. Some scientists say the way the mRNA vaccines are working is helping the virus to mutate its spike protein even faster than if we were using traditional type vaccines.
Also, maybe my memory is fuzzy, but didn't a bunch of science say that coronaviruses are supposed to mutate way slower than the flu? What's making it mutate so much faster this time around?
And for those getting your panties in a bunch because more than one booster shot may be needed or that annual vaccines may be needed, you may not be aware that this is common. We do that for the flu shot. Also, 2nd or even 3rd shots are used for other typical vaccines: DPT, MMR, Varicella, HPV, Hepatitis A and B, and Meningococcal disease.
Answers to some of your questions
First of all, we don't know that we will need to have a new booster every six months. That is highly unlikely. For the flu, we need one/year. The flu is a seasonal virus that wanes during the winter in temperate zones. People do get the flu all year, but far fewer. Covid may turn out to be similar, but at the moment, it appears not to be. It's impossible to know the answer when there are confounding variables, particularly because of the enormous numbers of people currently infected in the middle of a pandemic.
Original data did indicate that the best guess at that time was for vaccine immunity to last approximately six months - always with the caveat that it may be less for some, especially those who are immunocompromised, including those who don't know they are immunocompromised in a way that makes them more vulnerable to this infection although they may be young and healthy.
We still don't know what the outside limits may be for immunity, which may be one year, many years, or possibly lifetime immunity or partial immunity for some. We do know that immunity wanes for most with increased infectivity but far less serious illness, hospitalizations, and death for an overwhelming majority.
However, the estimate for the length of immunity originally was for the most prevalent variant at the time. Now we have the delta variant which is less vulnerable to the vaccine, though it still is highly protective and more protective than the flu vaccines are for that virus.
The delta variant is 2x-3x more contagious than the original version. It also replicates more quickly and people carry a much higher viral - as much as 10x higher in their nasal passages-- which makes it far more likely to cause serious infection among those not vaccinated and more transmissible.
Covid does mutate more slowly than the flu but it is more contagious. Also, realize that the more people that are infected, the higher the number of mutations. Current estimates are that each infected person carries approximately 10 to the ninth to 11th power virions during peak transmission. Figure out that number! The answer is one billion to 11 billion, each with the ability to mutate.
The mutation rate may be lower, but it still adds up to far more variations when many millions of infections are happening around the world. That's the answer to your query about "what makes it mutate much faster?" We have no information that it is mutating faster per the number of infections - i.e., the rate. Other variants could possibly mutate more quickly. This is a pandemic!
Vaccinations and protective measures have reduced the spread of Covid enormously. The 1918 flu led to 675,000 deaths in the U.S. and we had about one-third the population. That would translate to approximately 2 million deaths without the measures we have in place. Also, the numbers were likely skewed lower for the flu due to poor data collection at the time.
Skeptics bemoan the breakthrough infections and come to the conclusion that the vaccines are ineffective and dangerous. Even the measles vaccine which is incredibly effective fails to protect about 3% of the population exposed. The Salk polio vaccine that was hailed as a medical miracle was 80-90% effective at preventing paralysis. But mass vaccinations contained the spread leaving few infected people with whom to interact. Breakthroughs of the flu are even more common which fluctuates between 40-60% effectivity. All vaccines and medications may have unintended side effects for some. Even consumption of ordinary food can cause serious symptoms for some. These vaccines have been incredibly safe.
Vaccine conspiracy theories aren't new. They date back to the first smallpox vaccine and include the vaccine for rabies when Pasteur was accused of seeking to profit from his discovery. There were protests against tuberculosis vaccines with BCG, diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough in the 1920s. We've had fake autism scares that continue today regarding the measles vaccine as well as about the MMR vaccine. In Afghanistan, the Taliban banned the polio vaccines, calling them a Western plot to kill children. Now, conspiracy theories are proliferating beyond belief with the help of social media where quackery and five minutes of fame are readily available.
Meanwhile, we see an alarming trend in America while other rich countries see a steadily downward slope and we are flatlining. Only 53.6% of Americans are fully vaccinated with a much lower % in broad regions of the country. Other protections such as masking and social distancing have been ridiculed by many. A large study in Bangladesh found that infections went down about 10% overall and 34% for those over age 60 within 2 months when free masks were dispersed and their use increased significantly in that region.
Denmark has been a leader in its success in managing the pandemic. Nearly 90% of people have at least one dose and about 75% have had two doses of vaccination with 96% of those 65 or older. Voluntary compliance with prior regulations among the Danish people has been exceptional. Currently, almost all restrictions have been lifted. They consider the epidemic well under control but warned that the government will act as needed if the situation changes.
There's so much more to address, but bottom line, think risk vs. reward. The answer should be clear: vaccinations plus good masks, plus safe contact, especially indoors.