Young, healthy people may not get COVID vaccine until 2022, a year after WHO hopes one will be ready

As the world races to discover a vaccine for the virus, it is unlikely a viable one would be available for mass inoculation

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Young, healthy people could be one of the last in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, perhaps as late as 2022, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist said Wednesday.

As the world races to discover a vaccine for the virus, it is unlikely a viable one would be available for mass inoculation, Soumya Swaminathan said.

The WHO is therefore looking to organize guidance and prioritize groups of people most vulnerable to infection, the Guardian reported.

“Most people agree, it’s starting with healthcare workers and frontline workers, but even there, you need to define which of them are at highest risk, and then the elderly, and so on,” Swaminathan said.

“There will be a lot of guidance coming out, but I think an average person, a healthy young person might have to wait until 2022 to get a vaccine,” she said.

More than 150 vaccines are being tested and developed globally, with 42 already in human trials, according to the WHO. Two promising vaccines, by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, had to be paused in September and October respectively because of illness occurring in patients.

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Swaminathan also delivered warnings against complacency towards the death rate, reminding people that as case counts rise, so do deaths.

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“Mortality increases always lag behind increasing cases by a couple of weeks,” she said. “We shouldn’t be complacent that death rates are coming down.”

Her warnings come as Canada, the U.S. and much or Europe are seeing surges in new cases with the changing weather.

For nearly two weeks straight, Canada has reported more than 2,000 new cases per day and set a record on Oct. 9 with 2,554 cases.

In the United States, with the world’s highest number of confirmed infections, 22 states have so far in October set records for increases in new cases.

Germany reported 6,638 new cases Wednesday, the highest since the pandemic began.

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