WHO warns virus crisis not over as vaccine roll-out approaches - GulfToday

WHO warns virus crisis not over as vaccine roll-out approaches


Healthcare workers listen as Chief of Staff Doctor Joseph Varon talks to them in the Covid-19 ward at UMMC in Houston, Texas. AFP

Gulf Today Report

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned on Friday the roll-out of vaccines to fight the pandemic will not by itself eliminate the deadly coronavirus.

The WHO warned against complacency and what it said was an erroneous belief that because vaccines are on the near-horizon, the crisis is over.

"Vaccines do not equal zero Covid," WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a virtual news conference.


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“Vaccination will add a major, major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job.”

Britain on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a vaccine for general use, piling pressure on other countries to follow suit swiftly.

Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine
This photos shows a vial reading "Vaccine Covid-19" and a syringe next to the Pfizer logo. File photo

Bahrain announced on Friday that it had approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, becoming the second country after Britain to green-light the drug.

"The approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will add a further important layer to the kingdom's national COVID-19 response," said Mariam Al Jalahma, CEO of the National Health Regulatory Authority, according to a statement carried by the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The word of caution comes as the United States clocked a record number of Covid-19 cases for a second day in a row, with the country preparing for what US President-elect Joe Biden has called a “dark winter.”

America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday recommended “universal face mask use” indoors and Biden said he would scale down his January inauguration ceremony to mitigate the virus risk.

It comes as countries prepare for the approval and rollout of several vaccines that have proven effective in trials.

The WHO however warned against vaccine complacency on Friday and what it said was an erroneous belief that the Covid-19 crisis is over with jabs on the horizon.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said progress on vaccines signaled “light at the end of the tunnel.”

But he cautioned against the “growing perception that the pandemic is over” with the virus still spreading fast, putting enormous pressure on hospitals and health care workers.

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