The World Health Organization issued a warning on Wednesday that young, healthy people may have to wait until 2022 to get vaccinated for COVID-19. As countries worldwide work to establish guidelines about prioritizing who gets the vaccine and when, healthcare officials said that the most vulnerable groups and those at the highest risk of getting sick from COVID-19 should be first in line.
According to Fox News, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, said there are 11 vaccines globally in late-stage testing and another 200 candidates under development.
”I think most people agree that the people at highest risk of both transmission, getting the disease, and getting sick from it are healthcare workers, frontline workers, and then the elderly and the vulnerable,” she said, adding that a healthy, young person might have to wait until 2022 to get vaccinated because of the massive amounts of vaccine that will be needed to protect the first groups.
”But by that time hopefully we can stem the acute impacts, reduce mortality, protect those who are at highest risk,” the expert said, according to Fox. ”Start solving the acute problems and then we start by protecting the larger percentage of the population.”
According to USA Today, rolling out a vaccine and having enough to protect Americans may be a slow process. There needs to be a carefully crafted plan to determine who will be immunized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has been at the helm of the decision-making process since 1964.
”We’re starting as early as we can to deal with the torrent of data that’s coming out,” said Dr. Grace Lee, professor of pediatrics at Stanford University and an advisory committee member, according to USA Today. ”We don’t want to wait until the vaccine becomes available and begin our deliberations then.”
The CDC’s advisory committee has posted guidelines on its website on how it plans to conduct the vaccination process. According to Healthline, a task force organized by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, also released its recommendations on which individuals should get vaccinated first when a COVID-19 vaccine is available.