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World Health Organization: No COVID-19 mass vaccinations till middle of 2021 

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Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2020. 9:12 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Despite Russia and China already testing and mass vaccinating sectors of their population, the rest of the world will not likely see large scale doses of a vaccine for COVID-19 until the summer months of 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday according to USA Today, via The Hill. 

WHO Chief Scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, told reporters that the ideal vaccine candidate will only require one shot and last for several years. The health governing body has long been more cautious about making vaccines available once approved. 

The ideal vaccine candidate would protect at least 70 percent of people who receive vaccine doses, although the minimal standard is just 50 percent, the WHO said, but exact details of distribution have not been settled. Experts advocate that frontline workers especially in health care go first, followed by other essential workers and vulnerable populations, then as many others as possible in phases. 

Multiple pharmaceutical companies, including Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, have produced frontrunners for a vaccine and are funded by the U.S. government under Operation Warp Speed. 

The WHO has taken steps to ensure that a vaccine will be equitably distributed across the globe in a bid to prevent “vaccine nationalism” with COVAX, an initiative that counts more than 150 countries as committed to improving vaccine access. The final goal is to produce 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. 

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