The World Health Organization has warned that vaccines will be no magic bullet for the coronavirus crisis as nations gear up for a massive rollout to tackle surging infections.
The word of caution comes as the United States clocked a record number of Covid-19 cases for a second day in a row, with the country preparing for what US President-elect Joe Biden has called a “dark winter”.
America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday recommended “universal face mask use” indoors and Biden said he would scale down his January inauguration ceremony to mitigate the virus risk.
It comes as countries prepare for the approval and rollout of several vaccines that have proven effective in trials.
The WHO however warned against vaccine complacency on Friday and what it said was an erroneous belief that the Covid-19 crisis is over with jabs on the horizon.
“Vaccines do not equal zero Covid,” said WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan, adding that not everyone will be able to receive it early next year.
“Vaccination will add a major, major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said progress on vaccines signaled “light at the end of the tunnel.”
But he cautioned against the “growing perception that the pandemic is over” with the virus still spreading fast, putting enormous pressure on hospitals and health care workers.