The WHO on Monday warned that it is "unrealistic" to think the Covid-19 pandemic can be stopped by the end of the year 2021.
The main focus right now is to bring the transmission rates as low as possible; with the increasing pace of vaccine inoculation happening worldwide, there might be a considerable reduction in death and hospitalization cases. But it is "premature" to think that it is enough to end the pandemic by this year, said Dr Michael Ryan, director of WHO's emergencies program, at a media briefing.
"If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalization, but have a significant impact on transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we will accelerate toward controlling this pandemic," he said.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus informed that vaccines could make a change, but it is a mistake to solely rely on vaccines and relax public health measures like wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.
WHO had noted that for the first time in seven weeks, the number of Covid-19 cases spiked last week, after six consecutive weeks of declining numbers which he said could be due to the relaxing of public health measures.
Public health measures play an inevitable role in battling the pandemic and hence is to be strictly followed even after getting vaccinated, he warned.
Tedros said the aim is to ensure vaccination is underway in every country within the first 100 days of 2021. He also expressed his criticism of the rich countries moving to vaccinate their younger and working population instead of donating the doses to other countries that have not been able to protect even their vulnerable people.