From the initial outbreak in Wuhan to today’s global pandemic, it’s surreal to look back and realize that we’ve lived with Covid-19 for the better part of 2020.
It is an unprecedented situation that has largely paralyzed the world. To make matters worse, we’ve also learnt that there are likely more deadly viruses to come.
Regardless, scientists are studying the disease in a bid to devise a vaccine, as well as to extract information that will better prepare us for future scenarios.
Now, it appears we could have a Covid-19 vaccine ready by the end of 2020.
And no, it’s not promised by Donald Trump.
Vaccine Could be Ready by Year-End
On Tuesday (6 Oct), World Health Organization (WHO) convened in Geneva for a two-day board meeting. The agenda was to examine the global response to the pandemic.
During the convention, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the possibility of a Covid-19 vaccine by year-end.
WHO’s COVAX global vaccine facility currently has nine experimental vaccines underway. It aims to deliver 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Tedros said in final remarks to the WHO’s Executive Board: “We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine. There is hope.”
No further elaboration was given.
However, he did call for solidarity and political commitment by all leaders to ensure even distribution of vaccines when they become available.
Review on Pandemic Response for Future References
Apart from relaying the good news, WHO also received feedback at the meeting.
Three independent panels that evaluate WHO’s performance gave their updates. The review includes the 2005 International Health Regulations – a set of guidelines on trade and travel restrictions during health emergencies.
“We hope to get the real lessons that we can implement and prevent the same thing from happening,” said Tedros.
“But I would like to assure you that WHO is ready to learn from this and change this organisation.”
On the other hand, leaders from countries such as Germany, Britain and Australia are calling for a reform to fortify the agency.
Phase 3 Can End Early If There is a Vaccine
In Singapore, we are going through the second phase of our pandemic strategy, which should gradually progress to the endpoint: Phase 3.
The final phase can only conclude when a vaccine becomes ready. And even then, there will be dire need for an effective distribution plan in order to achieve herd immunity.
Nonetheless, a successful vaccine development would greatly expedite the country’s recovery, and this could mean one thing: we can finally travel.