A top scientist at the World Health Organization said a return to pre-coronavirus life isn’t likely to happen before 2022.
“The way that people are picturing it is that in January, you have vaccines for the whole world and things will start going back to normal,” Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’S chief science officer, told the South China Morning Post.
Swaminathan told the newspaper that is “not how it works.”
She said, according to a realistic timeline, a vaccine will roll out mid-2021 and immunization won’t take place overnight. She said people will still have to wear masks and social distance even after a vaccine is made available.
“We need 60% to 70% of the population to have immunity before you will start seeing a dramatic reduction in transmission of this virus,” Swaminathan said during a virtual meeting hosted by the United Nations Foundation. “We also don’t know how long these vaccines will protect for — that’s the other big question mark: How long does immunity last? And, it’s possible that you will need a booster.”
The scientist isn’t the only one saying a return to normalcy is still a while away.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is helping fund several vaccine efforts, told New York Magazine he predicts global immunity likely won’t occur until 2022.
He said “even if 80% of all the vaccines get approved and we get all this capacity, to get the eradication, it stretches into 2022.”
According to The New York Times, there are currently 40 vaccines in clinical trials and nine already in Phase 3 testing worldwide.
On Wednesday, the Department of Defense and federal health agencies outlined plans for a potential vaccine that would be available to all Americans at no cost.
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