Don’t expect first COVID-19 vaccinations until early 2021: WHO
Researchers are making strong strides in developing COVID-19 vaccines with a number of late-stage trials, but their first use cannot be expected until early 2021, said the World Health Organization (WHO) expert on 22 July.
WHO is working to ensure a fair distribution of vaccines, but in the meantime, it is vital to prevent the spread of the virus, said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, as news reports across the globe are near-record levels.
“We’re making good progress,” Ryan said, noting that several vaccines were now in phase 3 trials and none had failed, so far, in terms of safety or ability to generate an immune response.
“Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated,” he told a public event on social media.
WHO has been working to improve access to possible vaccines and help increase production efficiency, Ryan said.
Ryan also warned schools to be cautious about re-opening until the COVID-19 group transmission is under control. In the United States, the debate on re-launching education has escalated, as the pandemic has exploded in dozens of states.
The US government will spend $1.95 billion to purchase 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and German biotech BioNTech if it proves to be safe and successful.