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WHO warns young people may not get vaccine until 2022

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World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, has indicated that young, healthy people may have to wait until 2022 to get a vaccine and, that a despite the many vaccine trials being undertaken, speedy, mass shots were unlikely.

“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.

The WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, has indicated that, despite the global push for a vaccine, speedy, mass shots are unlikely.

“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,” Swaminathan said.

Two vaccine candidates, from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca’s US trial, have been paused on safety concerns, while manufacturing billions of doses of an eventual successful vaccine will be a colossal challenge demanding hard decisions about who gets inoculated first.

Swaminathan also warned against any complacency with regards to the coronavirus death rate, saying with the increasing number of cases (up to 100,000 a day in Europe), mortality would also rise.

While deaths globally have fallen to around 5,000 per day from April’s peak exceeding 7,500, he said caseloads were rising in intensive care units.

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

More than 38 million people have been reported infected globally and 1.1 million have died.

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