Healthy and young people might not get shots of coronavirus vaccine until 2022 as WHO’s health officials are considering immunising the elderly and vulnerable group first.
According to World Health Organisation’s chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan said, health workers, elderly and frontline workers might get the COVID-19 vaccine first, thought the prioritisation details are still being worked out by the WHO and its advisory group.
Swaminathan added that by 2021 the world will hopefully have at least one safe and effective coronavirus vaccine. However, it will be in “limited quantities”.
Recently, the WHO’s strategic advisory group of the expert committee (SAGE) published guidelines for countries on how to prioritise different groups of people. In which, the highest priority was given to health workers and older adults. Pregnant women, individuals with underlying health conditions, and children were also kept under the “risk group” category.
Like the WHO, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are preparing to prioritise certain at-risk communities for distribution of the scarce doses of vaccine.
Meanwhile, top WHO officials have cautioned countries against securing vaccine doses for their own citizens. So far, the US and China have secured millions of doses for their citizens, to which WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called “vaccine nationalism”.
To prevent other countries from reserving doses of coronavirus vaccine for their own citizens, WHO has launched the COVAX programme that guarantees fair access to the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine for the entire world.
At present, more than 10 coronavirus vaccines around the world are in late-stage clinical trials, Swaminathan said, adding that various vaccines would be potentially cleared for distributio.