New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday said that it does not expect any widespread coronavirus vaccine until the middle of 2021, stressing upon the importance of rigorous checks on their effectiveness and safety.

According to a report by news agency Reuters, a WHO spokeswoman, Margaret Harris has said that “None of the candidate vaccines in advanced clinical trials so far has demonstrated a "clear signal" of efficacy at the level of at least 50% sought by the WHO”.

"We are really not expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year," Harris told a UN briefing in Geneva, as quoted by Reuters.

"This phase 3 must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to see how safe it is," she added. This referred to the phase-in vaccine research where large clinical trials among people are conducted. However, she did not refer to any specific vaccine candidate.

Russia last month granted regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine candidate after less than two months of human testing, leading to questions from health experts around the world regarding its safety and efficacy.  

Meanwhile, US public health officials and Pfizer Inc said on Thursday a vaccine could be ready for distribution as soon as late October.

All data from trials must be shared and compared, Harris said. "A lot of people have been vaccinated and what we don't know is whether the vaccine works...at this stage we do not have the clear signal of whether or not it has the level of worthwhile efficacy and safety...," she added.

The WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance are leading a global vaccine allocation plan known as COVAX that aims to help buy and distribute shots fairly. The focus is on first vaccinating the most high-risk people in every country such as healthcare workers.

COVAX aims to procure and deliver 2 billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021, but some countries that have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join.

"Essentially, the door is open. We are open. What the COVAX is about is making sure everybody on the planet will get access to the vaccines," Harris said.

 

(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talib Khan