WHO warns 'no time for complacency' despite Covid-19 vaccine
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that although the announcements of new potential effective vaccines for Covid-19 are positive news, “many questions” remain and there is no time for complacency.
The organization welcomed Moderna reporting on Monday that its experimental vaccine showed 94.5% efficacy, but also said that only very limited amounts of any vaccine will be available in the first half of 2021 for people other than priority health workers.
“While we continue to receive encouraging news about Covid-19 vaccines and remain cautiously optimistic about the potential for new tools to start to arrive in coming months, right now we are extremely concerned by the surge in cases we are seeing in some countries, particularly in Europe and the Americas,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing.
Moderna and Pfizer, both of whose vaccines have over 90% effectiveness, could give the US two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December with as many as 60m vaccine doses available in 2020.
Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, said that “there are many, many questions still remaining about the duration of protection, the impact on severe disease, the impact on different sub-populations especially the elderly, as well as the adverse events beyond a certain period of time.”
She added that clinical trials must continue in order to collect more data and that even so the first half of 2021 will be a period with very limited numbers of doses.