CAPE TOWN – Healthy young people will be last in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine. A top official from the World Health Organization (WHO) said priority will be given to the elderly and other vulnerable groups first.
Speaking at a WHO social media event, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist said most people agree, it’s starting with health care workers, and front-line workers, but even there, you need to define which of them are at highest risk, and then the elderly, and so on.
“A healthy young person might have to wait until 2022. People tend to think that on the first of January or the first of April, I’m going to get the vaccine, and then things will be back to normal. It’s not going to work like that,” she said.
Swaminathan indicated that, despite the many vaccine trials being undertaken, speedy, mass shots were unlikely, and organising who would given access first in the event of a safe vaccine being discovered was still being worked on.
The WHO’s strategic advisory group of experts on immunization, or SAGE, recently published guidelines for countries on how to consider prioritizing different groups of people.
While many nations already have general vaccine-allocation plans, which typically prioritize children and pregnant women; the Covid-19 plans do not.
This is largely, because most vaccine trials currently do not include pregnant women, and the coronavirus seems to be less deadly to children than influenza is.
The WHO has also warned against any complacency in the coronavirus death rate, saying with the increasing number of cases, mortality would also rise.
New cases are hitting 100,000 daily in Europe. Nearly 20,000 infections were reported in Britain, while Italy, Switzerland and Russia were among nations with record case numbers.
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