Geneva, 4 December 2020 (dpa/MIA) – People must not let down their guard against the novel coronavirus even though governments are racing to start vaccination campaigns, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday.
“The WHO is concerned that there is a growing perception that the pandemic is over,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference from Geneva.
“The pandemic still has a long way to run,” Tedros said, urging the public stick to basic health measures even as vaccines are being rolled out.
The UN health chief’s comments came as the British National Health Service (NHS) announced it would begin its coronavirus vaccination programme on Tuesday.
According to WHO experts, vaccines will be a powerful tool against the pandemic, but they will become widely available only after health workers and other high-risk groups have been immunized.
“Vaccines do not equal zero Covid,” said Mike Ryan, the WHO top health emergency official.
“By themselves they will not do the job,” he added, stressing that other proven public health measures are also needed to bring infection numbers down.
Tedros urged governments to start planning now for vaccination campaigns, by making sure they have the necessary personnel, cold storage facilities for vaccines and medical regulatons in place.