WHO won’t recommend COVID-19 vaccines unless safe

The head of the World Health Organisation says the UN health agency won’t recommend any coronavirus vaccine before it is proved safe and effective.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said vaccines have been used successfully for decades and credited them with eradicating smallpox and bringing polio to near elimination.

He pointed to newly developed vaccines that helped end the recent Ebola outbreak in Congo.


Tedros on Friday appealed to people opposed to vaccination to do their own research.

“The anti-vaccine movement, they can build narratives to fight against vaccines. But the track record of vaccines tells its own story and people should not be confused,” he said.

“They can have a look for themselves on how the world actually used vaccines to reduce under-five mortality to save children.”

He said he is hopeful there will soon be an effective coronavirus vaccine “so the world can get back to normal”.

“Certainly by the middle of 2021 we should start to see some vaccines actually moving into countries and populations,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday.

Noting that there were 13 experimental vaccines currently in clinical trails, Swaminathan called it an “optimistic scenario” since the typical success rate of 10 per cent could mean several vaccines are approved.

But Swaminathan added that no vaccine should be approved for a worldwide roll-out until it had undergone sufficient scrutiny.

Globally, more than 26.4 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus and 868,963 have died.

© AP 2020