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COVID-19 Vaccination To Realistically Begin By Mid-2021, Says WHO Chief Scientist

Bhubaneswar: Vaccines against COVID-19 is not expected until mid-2021, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan. While clinical trial results of the first successful COVID-19 vaccines are expected as early as the end of this year, vaccination of public will, realistically begin in mid-2021 after mass manufacturing starts, said Swaminathan.

Results are expected from some of the candidates which are already in phase 3 trials to come by the end of 2020 or by beginning of 2021. Following this, there will be scaling of manufacturing to produce the millions of doses that are going to be needed, she said.

The entire process, realistically speaking, will take time till mid-2021 when the world can see doses of COVID-19 vaccine flowing into countries. “After this process begins, the nations can start immunising their populations,” Swaminathan said.

During a conversation (posted with this article below), the WHO Chief Scientist added that it is a positive sign that many vaccine candidates are being developed arouned the world, more than 200. About 31 of them have come into the clinical phase of testing.

“As you know, we go into Phase 1, then 2 and then 3, in clinical trials, there are at least eight candidates now which are in the late stage of clinical testing. So this means we will start seeing the results from some of the clinical trial by the end of this year or early 2021,” she said.

“Once the clinical trial results are available, the regulators around the world will have to look at the data and make decisions on approving them. The vaccines need to be produced and shipped all over the world,” Swaminathan added.

She expressed confidence that there will be at least one or two vaccines which will be “actually good”. This would be somewhere in the middle of 2021. “For a COVID vaccine we would like to see one which is very very effective, protecting at least 70 per cent of people that receive the vaccine. The minimum standard that we have set is 50 per cent,” the WHO Chief Scientist added.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO

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