At an online press conference from the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, the optional character of future vaccines was defended by the director for health emergencies, Michael Ryan, and by the director of the organization’s vaccine program, Kate O´Brien .
“I don’t think mandatory is the way to go,” the official told reporters, with Michael Ryan adding that the benefits of vaccines need to be better explained, rather than making vaccination mandatory.
Kate O`Brien, who defended the safety of vaccines currently in the process of approval, noted that experience has shown that when countries wanted to make certain vaccines mandatory they did not have the intended effect, but warned that in some situations and countries vaccine administration should be “strongly recommended”.
“We need to persuade, talk to people, and those who have worked in public health prefer to avoid this type of measures”, said Michael Ryan, adding: “We are prepared to present the data, the benefits resulting from the vaccine, so that people make their decisions ”.
The official said that when vaccines are available to everyone, which could take up to a year, since in the beginning of 2021 there will be few and will initially be for groups at risk, many people will realize that vaccination will be an “act of responsibility” .
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, still on the subject of vaccines, asked in the same press conference that countries give priority to those most in need, such as health professionals and the elderly.
“As the offer [de vacinas] increases, the next groups would include those who are most at risk of serious illness “due to other associated pathologies, and” marginalized groups at greatest risk, “said the Director-General of WHO.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also stressed the importance of serological tests, because it is important to know where the virus has been and how many people may have been infected without showing symptoms, and added that tests carried out all over the world indicate that “the world population remains susceptible to infection with covid-19 virus ”.
“Serological studies can help us understand how long immunity to natural infection lasts, which can also help us understand how long immunity to vaccination can last,” said the official.
To prevent wealthier countries from buying all doses of vaccines that in the first few months will be available only in limited quantities, WHO has created a mechanism called ACT-Accelerator, to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines and other possible treatments.
The WHO has said that $ 4.3 billion is needed immediately for this purpose.
At today’s press conference, the organization’s top official recalled that the WHO Foundation was created to diversify funding sources, and said that the executive director of the new institution, starting in 2021, is Anil Soni, a global health specialist. .