U.S. public health officials and Pfizer Inc said on Thursday a vaccine could be prepared for distribution as soon as late October. That would be only in front of the U.S. political decision on Nov. 3 in which the pandemic is probably going to be a central point among voters choosing whether President Donald Trump wins a subsequent term.
“We are really not expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year,” Harris told a UN briefing in Geneva.
“This Phase 3 must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to see how safe it is,” she added. This referred to the phase-in vaccine research where large clinical trials among people are conducted. Harris did not refer to any specific vaccine candidate.
All data from trials must be shared and compared, Harris said.
The WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance is leading a global vaccine allocation plan known as COVAX, which aims to help buy and distribute shots fairly. The focus is on first vaccinating the most high-risk people in every country such as health-care workers.
COVAX aims to procure and deliver two billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021, but some countries that have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join.
Meanwhile, an independent panel appointed by the World Health Organization to review its coordination of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic will have full access to any internal UN agency documents, materials and emails necessary, the panel said Thursday as it began the probe.
The panel’s co-chairs are former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark.
The 11 others, announced during a media briefing, include Dr. Joanne Liu, who was an outspoken WHO critic during the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and Dr. Zhong Nanshan, a renowned Chinese doctor who was the first to publicly confirm human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus.
Photo credit: REUTERS/FILE
News source: Reuters