Healthy young people may have to wait till 2022 for Covid vaccine: WHO

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan

New Delhi (NVI): Healthy, young people may have to wait until 2022 to be vaccinated against coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, who says health workers and those at highest risks to be prioritised.

Swaminathan indicated that, despite the many vaccine trials being undertaken, speedy, mass shots were unlikely, and organising who would be given access first in the event of a safe vaccine being discovered was still being worked on.

“Most people agree, it’s starting with healthcare workers, and frontline workers, but even there, you need to define which of them are at highest risk, and then the elderly, and so on,” Swaminathan said.

“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 said.

Swaminathan hoped there would be at least one effective vaccine by 2021 but it would be available only in “limited quantities”.

Swaminathan also warned against complacency about the virus death rate, saying with the increasing number of cases, mortality would also rise.

“Mortality increases always lag behind increasing cases by a couple of weeks,” she said. “We shouldn’t be complacent that death rates are coming down.”

So far, more than 38.4 million people have been infected globally and nearly 1.1 million people have died.