People hope that a vaccine against the Coronavirus will soon come out, and life will return to normal. But, how effective will this vaccine be, and who will have access to it?
Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 230,000 new cases of the coronavirus. “Just today, the latest edition of the State of Food Security Nutrition in the world was published, which estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019. While it’s too soon to assess the full impact of COVID-19, the report estimates that 170 million more people may face chronic hunger by the end of this year,” said Dr. Tedros Abhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
While the forecast is still grim, could we expect that once a vaccine comes out, our lives will return to normal?
Through his experience, Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO Executive Director, said that the history of vaccines had taught him to consider these essential questions: One, how effective will the vaccine be? Two, who will get that vaccine? And will that distribution be fair and equitable?
“We need to learn to live with this virus. Expecting that we will eradicate or eliminate this virus in the coming months is not realistic,” stated Dr. Ryan. He continued, “And also, believing that magically, we will get a perfect vaccine that everyone will have access to, is also not realistic.”
Dr. Tedros said, “let me be blunt. Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction. The virus remains public enemy number one. But the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this.”
Dr. Tedros: I want to be straight with you. There will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future. There will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future. But, there is a roadmap to a situation where we can control the business, and get on with our lives.
He explained, “mixed messages from leaders are undermining the most critical ingredient of any response.”
The only solution to mitigate this situation is for governments to be directly in communication and engage with citizens. Citizens must follow the most basic and common-sense, comprehensive strategy that covers physical distancing, washing, wearing masks, and staying at home if you are sick.
“We need strong government leadership and coordination of comprehensive strategies that are communicated clearly and consistently. It can be done. It must be done,” insisted Dr. Tedros.
“No matter where a country is in its epidemic curve, it’s never too late to take decisive action, implement the basics and work with community leaders and all stakeholders to deliver clear public health messages. We were unprepared collectively. But we must use all the tools we have to bring these funds under control,” he said.