It is important to emphasize that a coronavirus vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
File photo of WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Photo Credits: AP)
Vaccine alone will not end the coronavirus pandemic, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. The WHO chief’s statement comes on the same day as US pharma giant Pfizer announced that its Covid-19 vaccine shows that it is 94.5 per cent effective in preventing the deadly virus.
In a statement on November 16, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we knew that a vaccine would be essential for bringing the pandemic under control. But it’s important to emphasize that a vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them.”
Experimental coronavirus vaccines developed by several companies from across the globe are currently in the third phase of clinical trials. These include Russia’s Sputnik V, Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN and Pfizer’s BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine.
The WHO is also closely monitoring the vaccine development and distribution machinery.
However, this statement from WHO DG Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus surprised those who have been waiting eagerly for an effective Covid-19 vaccine.
Dr Ghebreyesus also said, “A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic. We will still need to continue surveillance, testing, isolating and caring for cases, tracing and quarantining contacts, engaging communities, and encouraging individuals to be careful.”
Media briefing on #COVID19 with @DrTedros https://t.co/omNYXHvWf9
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) November 16, 2020
The WHO Director-General also emphasized the distribution of a vaccine once it is ready.
“Initially, supply will be limited, so health workers, older people and other at-risk populations will be prioritised. That will hopefully reduce the number of deaths and enable health systems to cope,” WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.