BENGALURU: Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization (WHO), on Wednesday, August 26, said that being able to scale, distribute and fairly allocate COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, without letting the rich countries corner the limited doses, would be a big challenge. She said we ought to have some positive news by early 2021 on the development of vaccines for the novel coronavirus.
She commented on the situation while addressing the valedictory session of the 16th International Conference on Public Policy and Governance, organized in virtual mode by the Center for Public Policy at the Bangalore Indian Institute of Management.
Dr Swaminathan said that India is in a good position as many companies are either working on their own or in partnership for the development of COVID-19 vaccines, adding that the country is a manufacturing hub for vaccines. The pandemic has increased inequality and proved to be a learning opportunity to enhance resilience and strengthen public health systems. She further said that the focus should be on global cooperation while addressing virus diagnostics, therapeutics, behavioural and mental health issues, transmission, vaccine development, and how the disease affects children (learning, cognitive development) with schools being shut.