The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday said that even though a vaccine would be essential for bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control, it would not by itself stop the virus.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew that a vaccine would be essential for bringing the pandemic under control. But it’s important to emphasise that a vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Tedros said a vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic and we will still need to continue surveillance; testing, isolating and caring for cases; tracing and quarantining contacts; engaging communities and encouraging individuals to be careful.
The COVID-19 pandemic is raging months after it broke out, with infections crossing 54-million mark and claiming more than 1.3 million lives globally.
In the WHO’s figures for Saturday, 660,905 cases were reported to the UN health agency, setting a new daily record.
A day before, 645,410 cases were registered, surpassing the previous daily record high of 614,013 cases on November 7.
Tedros said the initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be limited, so health workers, older people and other at-risk populations will be prioritised. “That will hopefully reduce the number of deaths and enable the health systems to cope.”
But he had a warning to add: “That will still leave the virus with a lot of room to move.