The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the much awaited Covid-19 vaccine is almost ready for distribution.
In a statement, WHO Director of the Department of Immunisation Vaccines and Biologicals, Dr Katherine O’Brien said the vaccines need to first go under scrutiny before they are distributed.
“This is the first time we’ve really had that kind of data in front of us. The next thing that needs to happen is these vaccines have to pass through the regulatory process after a close scrutiny of the data. And then the question is, how are they going to get to everybody who needs these vaccines? In every country, around the world, there are plans.” She said.
Dr O’Brien however said the vaccines are going to be first given to vulnerable groups such as medical practitioners, the old and those with underlying medical conditions.
“And it’s really important for people to understand that the vaccines are going to be in limited supply, at least initially in the beginning of the rollout. So, it’s not going to be as if everybody immediately is going to be able to get vaccine.
“So, the priority groups are health workers who are at high or very high risk of COVID. And then people who are in older age groups, who have been the people who have been most at risk of severe disease or death. And following that, people who have underlying medical conditions that would put them at risk, again, of severe disease or death.” She added.
Dr O’brien said it is every country’s responsibility to realise the importance of these vaccines and distribute them to the people in time.
“Because of the nature of COVID vaccines, there are going to be challenges that every country is going to face. And some of the first challenges are dealing with the cold-chain equipment.
“Some of the vaccines require special equipment to keep the vaccines really cold, others just require refrigeration temperatures or usual freezing temperatures. These vaccines really need to get into people. And that is absolutely about community engagement and individual confidence and individual willingness and understanding of the benefit of the vaccines and the safety of the vaccines.” She said.