The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated on Monday that a working vaccine alone will not put an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that there is a need for communities and individuals to still be engaged.
This assertion was in reaction to the announcement of the U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna which disclosed that its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective in late-stage trials.
While addressing WHO’s executive board remotely, Tedros said it is important to emphasize that a vaccine will complement other tools, not replace them.
Tedros explained that once a vaccine is given final approval and is ready to be distributed, supplies will initially be limited.
He said health care workers, older people, and other at-risk populations will be prioritized, which hopefully will reduce deaths and ease the strain on health systems.
“That will still leave the virus with a lot of room to move,” he stated.
He added that there will still be a need for testing, contact tracing, and isolation. Communities and individuals will need to stay engaged and continue to use precautions.
Tedros called on WHO’s executive board made up of senior health officials from all member nations to play a role in making sure nations continue following COVID-19 precautions and let the agency know how they can support them.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, as of Monday, the organization reported more than 54 million total cases and 1.3 million deaths worldwide.