Of course, scientists and researchers are doing the best that they can and putting people to trials, but according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert, we are probably not going to be able to use them until early 2021.
“Making Good Progress”
Dr Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said, “We’re making good progress.”
He stated that a few types of vaccines are now in phase 3 trials and none of them has failed as of now in terms of safety or the ability to trigger an immune response.
During a public event on social media, he shared, “Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated.”
Now, note the word: start.
Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at University of Michigan School of Public Health, added, “The results of Phase 1 and/or Phase 2 trials have been very promising. We should definitely believe these results, while acknowledging that they do not prove the vaccine is effective. These early phase trials address safety and whether the vaccine elicits a good immune response.
“The good news is that we have several vaccines that have or are moving forward into phase 3 trials – the phase needed to prove it works for licensing.”
Many of the potential vaccines are looking set to be used for the public next year “because they’re built off other successful efforts”. Matthew Kavanagh, assistant professor of global health and visiting professor of Law at Georgetown University noted that it is important that countries worked together to develop the vaccine instead of competing with one another.
He said, “In this pandemic, we need to quickly realise that are better ways of doing this. This is what can happen when public, academic and private entities come together with a single focus. When united, we can accomplish so much more.”
Vaccines To Be Made Available To Everyone
The WHO is doing their best to ensure that potential vaccines can be accessed by everyone. They are also helping to ramp up production capacity.
Dr Ryan said, “And we need to be fair about this, because this is a global good. Vaccines for this pandemic are not for the wealthy, they are not for the poor, they are for everybody.”
According to Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, the US government will pay them US$1.95 billion (~S$2.7 billion) for 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that they are developing. This is, of course, based on the proof that it is safe and effective.
What This Means For CNY Next Year
So what exactly does this mean for Singapore?
Well, it seems that Chinese New Year next year might still be filled with social distancing because we can’t be sure that the virus is completely eradicated.
Furthermore, with such big gatherings where everyone is visiting their extended family and their friends, it is even more important to social distance because if we’re not careful, a cluster can easily form.
Unless your extended family comprises only five people lah.
And as for Christmas?
Don’t even think about it.