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Vaccines do not fully eliminate virus; COVID restrictions should continue with vaccine, warns WHO

DUBLIN: The World Health Organization warns people who believe that the discovery of vaccines will prevent the spread of COVID-19 completely. WHO warns that “vaccines do not equal zero COVID”. “Vaccines and vaccination will add a major, major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job,” says WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan.

The WHO is concerned that the perception of the public that the pandemic is over is on the rise. “Many places are witnessing very high transmission of the virus, which is putting enormous pressure on hospitals, intensive care units and health workers,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. Globally, the number of corona virus cases has crossed 65 million. At least 15 million people have been killed.

“The pandemic still has a long a way to run and decisions made by leaders and citizens in the coming days will determine both the course of the virus in the short term and when this pandemic will ultimately end,” said Tedros.

According to the WHO’s overview of candidate vaccines, 51 are currently being tested on humans, 13 of which have reached final-stage mass testing. A further 163 candidate vaccines are being developed in laboratories.

He also warned that people should realise that the vaccine will not reach everyone early next year. Priority will be given to health workers, the elderly and the vulnerable.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that we can do better if COVID restrictions continue with the vaccine. “People will say: ‘Look it’s been a terrible year. We’re fatigued, we’re fed up of all of the restrictions but the vaccines are coming’,” Martin said.

“If (they) keep doing what they’re doing, there is a very good chance of emerging from this in the best possible way, in terms of the economy relatively intact and in a position to try and reboot it and reignite it and get it going again, and also protecting public health. The arrival of vaccines must be seen as a tool, as an extra weapon in our armoury to deal with this terrible virus,” Taoiseach said.

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