The COVID-19 vaccine wait may get longer for a young healthy population, said World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, at a social media event of WHO.
Swaminathan stated, “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.”
“There will be a lot of guidance coming out, but I think an average person, a healthy young person might have to wait until 2022 to get a vaccine,” she added.
The @WHO Strategic Advisory group of experts on immunization has developed a Values framework and a Road map for prioritizing uses of #COVID19 vaccines, in the context of limited supply. Very useful for countries as they develop national vaccine deployment plans. @GaviSeth https://t.co/VY28yC3yUE
— Soumya Swaminathan (@doctorsoumya) October 15, 2020
Which demography will be given priority after an effective vaccine gets approved is the question. It is as debatable as to when the wait for a vaccine will finally end.
The chief scientist of WHO addressing both the questions said by 2021, there will be at least one safe and effective vaccine. But it will be available in “limited quantities” and hence vulnerable people will be prioritized.
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“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,” Swaminathan said.
According to reports, China vaccinated its army in July and is now immunizing government officials, store staff apart from health care professionals. It is also considering the vaccination of students who have headed abroad for studies.
While Russia prioritized journalists in vaccination apart from frontline health workers.
Countries like China and Russia which have been administering its population with vaccine shots are also following vaccine prioritization patterns.
In India, a high-level committee will chart out the prioritization process. Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has recently said, “Prioritisation of groups to be vaccinated shall be based on key considerations like occupational hazards, risk of exposure to the infection, overall health, etc.”
The rumour about prioritising vaccination of youth over elderly is false
Kindly report such claims to @PIBFactCheck
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) October 11, 2020
The states have been asked to submit a list of priority population groups that need to receive the vaccine first like doctors, nurses, sanitation staff, ASHA workers, surveillance officers, etc. of both private and government sectors.