As the world waits for an effective COVID-19 vaccine, World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan has said that young and healthy people may have to wait till 2022 before getting a shot.
“Most people agree, it’ll start with healthcare workers and frontline workers, but even there you need to define which of them are at highest risk, and then the elderly, and so on,” Swaminathan said at a WHO-organized social media event.
“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 added.
Debate and discussion are ongoing across the world on which sections of the population are to be given priority and when the wait for an effective vaccine actually ends.
Swaminathan is of the opinion that by 2021, at least one safe and effective vaccine would be developed. But it will be available in “limited quantities” and hence vulnerable people will be prioritized.
“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,” Swaminathan warned.
The Indian government has said a high-level committee will chart out the prioritization process. “Prioritization of groups to be vaccinated shall be based on key considerations like occupational hazards, risk of exposure to the infection, overall health etc,” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan recently said.
The states have been asked to submit lists of priority population groups that need to receive vaccine first.