Life globally will not return to normal for two or three years based on the rate of the current vaccination rollout, it has been warned – but there are early signs jabs are reducing cases in the UK.
Speaking to Sky News, Dr Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy at London School of Economics, said the COVID-19 pandemic will not be over until the world’s population is protected.
“At the moment, the data is showing it’s going to be 2023/24 before the global vaccines are distributed to everybody,” she said.
“That’s a long time. And distributing some now might be able to get us back to normal life sooner.”
Even once the UK population had been vaccinated, restrictions such as border controls would continue to exist because of the threat posed by resistant coronavirus variants being brought in from outside, she said.
“This pandemic isn’t going to be over until it’s over globally,” Dr Wenham said.
“We’re still going to be living in some form of restrictions – travel restrictions, border controls – even when we’re vaccinated, until it’s over round the world. So there’s a real imperative to make sure that everybody round the world has at least minimum levels of vaccines at the same time.”
It came as the World Health Organisation urged the UK to pause its vaccination programme once vulnerable groups have received their jabs to help ensure the global rollout is fair.
Britain currently has one of the highest levels of vaccine coverage but many poorer countries are yet to start any immunisations.
WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly called for equitable distribution of jabs and warned that a “me first” approach would prolong the pandemic, as well as human and economic suffering.
Ministers recently pointed out the UK had committed £548m to the WHO’s Covax programme to support access to Covid-19 vaccines for up to 92 developing countries.
However, the EU has sparked controversy and a diplomatic row after imposing vaccine controls in a dispute over supply shortages.
Dr Wenham told Sky News: “If we want to return to global systems of trade and travel we need to make sure that the vulnerable globally are vaccinated.” Read Full Article >