Coronavirus: Widespread vaccination not expected till mid-2021, says WHO

The World Health Organization on Friday said it does not expect widespread vaccinations against Covid-19 till the middle of next year, Reuters reported. WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said that none of the vaccines in the advanced trials have shown “clear signs” of efficacy, which is at least 50%, sought by the global health body.

“This phase 3 must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to say how safe it is,” Harris said. She was referring to the advanced phases where trials are conducted on a large human sample size.

She also said that data from all coronavirus vaccine trials should be shared and compared.

Russia has already approved a coronavirus vaccine for use. On August 26, Moscow mayor called upon citizens to participate in an advanced trial. The mass production of the vaccine, named Sputnik-V, is expected to begin in September. Sputnik-V produced an antibody response in all participants without any adverse effects in the early-stage trials, according to preliminary results published by medical journal The Lancet.

On Thursday, the United States health officials and pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer said they were also planning to distribute coronavirus vaccines in the country. It is slated to begin from late October just ahead of the presidential polls. The US had on Tuesday decided to go alone in manufacturing a vaccine and announced that it will not join the global initiative to develop, manufacture and equally distribute the same.

More than 170 countries are engaged in discussions to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax Facility, which is focussed on speeding up the development of a drug, and ensuring doses for all countries and distributing the vaccines to the most high-risk segment of each population.

Harris said that Covax was about “making sure everyone on the planet will get access to the vaccines.”

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 2.62 crore people and killed over 8.66 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s tracker. Over 1.73 crore people across the world have recovered from the infection.

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Coronavirus: Widespread vaccination not expected till mid-2021, says WHO