Amidst surge of coronavirus cases over the weekend, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief said in a meeting Monday that a vaccine will not end the spread of coronavirus.
The agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanam Ghebreyesus, stated that although a vaccine will be useful, it will not replace other necessary tools, according to a CBS News report. “A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic.” He did not clarify which tools, exactly, would not be replaced by a vaccine.
Infections have surged past 54 million, with 660,905 cases worldwide reported Saturday alone to the WHO. The U.S. has averaged over a 100,000 daily new cases for more than a week.
Various U.S. states are implementing tighter restrictions over the next 2 weeks in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling those restrictions unconstitutional in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Tedros’ statement comes on the heels of Pfizer’s announcement earlier this week that early analysis of their trial vaccine found it to be 90% effective compared to a placebo treatment. They reported no serious safety concerns in the 44,000-person trial, and plan to apply for emergency authorization later this month once follow-up on their safety data is completed.
Pfizer is one of the companies aligned with Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government’s initiative to fund and develop an effective vaccine.
Tedros stressed that supplies of the vaccine would be restricted, at least initially, to health care workers, the elderly, and other at-risk populations.