Availability of safe and effective vaccines is a huge step forward in the context of battle with COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Sıddhartha Datta, Regional Advisor on vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization at WHO Regional Office for Europe told Trend.
He noted that as more types and volumes of vaccines become available people will have an ever-greater opportunity to end the pandemic.
"The first immediate aim is to make sure that the first deliveries of vaccine doses have the greatest possible impact on reducing severe disease and deaths," he said.
Having noted that it will take time to roll out enough to vaccinate everyone against COVID-19, Datta said that in the meantime everyone must all continue to follow the tried and tested personal protection measures that keep each and all of us safe, including frequent hand washing, physical distancing and wearing a mask as recommended.
Talking the pros and cons of the mass vaccination of population, Datta explained that vaccination is one of the tools in a whole range of important tools to reduce and eventually end the tragic impacts of this pandemic.
"Wide age-group vaccination has been conducted by countries in the WHO European Region for several vaccines (as measles-rubella, polio). And they have proved to be effective in controlling and eliminating some of the vaccine-preventable diseases," he said.
Talking the preparation for the vaccination process he said that it is absolutely key in each country.
Datta noted that WHO is providing technical assistance to health authorities if needed to ensure that all aspects of this huge effort have been considered and further strengthened.
In his words this support includes highest-level advocacy, policy dialogue, partner engagement and resource mobilization; evidence-informed and ethical values-based national vaccination strategy.
"WHO also provides legal and regulatory framework facilitating vaccine deployment; immunization service delivery modalities; vaccine and supply chain management; human resources and security; vaccination data and information management; vaccine safety monitoring; injection safety and waste management; demand generation, community engagement and communication," noted.
Emphasizing that not everyone can be vaccinated at once, Datta said that strategic prioritization is also crucial to make sure that the first deliveries of vaccine doses have the greatest possible impact on reducing severe disease and deaths.
"This means prioritizing the individuals most at risk, such as health care workers who treat COVID-19 patients, and older adults, who are at higher risk of severe disease outcomes," he said.
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