WHO sees Covid-19 vaccination backlog for 2 years; sustained health protocols a must
MANILA, Philippines — The Covid-19 vaccine will not reach the entire global population in the next two years or more, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Philippines said Monday, as he reminded that “nobody is absolutely safe until the whole world is safe” against the new coronavirus.
WHO country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe stressed that the public should still adhere to health protocols against Covid-19 as what has been practiced since the pandemic began.
“Let me emphasize one thing. The vaccines are not going to help open the world right now. We will still need to follow all of the behaviors that we have been following over the last one year because the transmission is going to continue and we are not going to be able to vaccinate everybody probably for another two years or more,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“We are talking about nobody is absolutely safe until the whole world is safe. So in those circumstances it is necessary that we continue to adopt and practice those physical distancing and hygiene measures,” he added.
He pointed out that observing health protocols is also helpful in suppressing new variants of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
“It is critically important that we follow those measures as we introduce the vaccine as an additional measure and ensure that a high proportion of the population is protected, but this is going to be a long-term thing and until that happens, we will not be able to fully open up countries,” Abeyasinghe said.
The WHO official also cited the Philippines’ “very good comprehensive plan” on vaccination.
“What we are concerned about is oftentimes the actual rollout faces challenges although you plan very well,” he added..
On Sunday, National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said at least 5.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are expected to arrive in the country within the first quarter of this year.
He said the vaccines will be coursed through the WHO-led COVAX facility.
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