Researchers around the world are working nonstop to find and release a vaccine that can prevent SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. This round the clock Trojan effort is expected to bring the vaccine to the market somewhere between the end of 2020 to mid-2021.
The chief scientist at the WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, recently said that though she hopes at least one vaccine will be on the market by 2021, it will probably only be available in“limited quantities”.
These quantities will first be made accessible to health workers and vulnerable groups. The others will have to wait well into 2022 to be vaccinated. 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 then went on to say.
“People tend to think that on the first of January or the first of April, I'm going to get the vaccine, and then things will be back to normal. It's not going to work like that.”
How the WHO prioritizes who gets access to the vaccine first, is up to the agency’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE). The latter published guidelines about how to prioritize vaccines in September, but they have still to finalize them.
A vaccine against Covid-19 hasn’t yet been approved by any of the major authorities; the European Union, the US, of the WHO. Though Russia approved a vaccine in early August, it holds less sway since the vaccine wasn’t subject to widespread testing.
While sharing more vaccine updates, Swaminathan informed that more than ten vaccines are now in their final-stage clinical trials. And as each vaccine gains approval, SAGE will publish individual guidelines on their distribution.
In the meantime, strictly stick to mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing.