Don’t expect Covid-19 pandemic to be over by the end of 2021: WHO


LAST UPDATED: March 2, 2021, 8:42 a.m.

New Delhi: The World Health Organization on Monday said that people should not expect that pandemic is disappearing anytime soon. “It is unrealistic to expect the Covid-19 pandemic to be over by the end of 2021.”

“I think it will be very premature, and I think unrealistic, to think that we’re going to finish with this virus by the end of the year,” Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said at a press conference. 

“But I think what we can, if we’re smart, finish with the hospitalizations, the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic,” he said.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the WHO, added that “the goal of COVAX is to bring an end to the acute phase the pandemic by the end of 2021.”

It’s been over a year since the pandemic took the world by storm and it’s been three-month that a few vaccines across the world against the disease have been authorised. The vaccination programme around many countries is currently underway. 

Meanwhile, 256 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 74 of them are in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the WHO on February 26. 

India started world’s largest immunisation drive against the deadly virus on January 16 with two approved vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin. While Covishield has been developed by AstraZeneca-Oxford University and locally manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Covaxin is an indigenous vaccine rolled out by Bharat Biotech. 

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The country recently concluded first phase of the vaccination drive which saw healthcare and frontline workers being vaccinated against the virus. The second phase of the vaccination drive began on Monday under which people aged above 60 and those between 45-59 with co-morbidities will be inoculated. 

In a bid to instill confidence among people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi administered the vaccine on Monday. 

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