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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Vaccines are no magic bullet” – World Health Organisation

Tanutam Thawan



“Vaccines will be no magic bullet for the coronavirus crisis as nations gear up for a massive rollout to tackle surging infections.”

The warning of caution comes from the World Health Organisation on the day the US United States recorded a record number of Covid-19 cases for a second day in a row. President-elect Joe Biden is already describing the time ahead as a “dark winter”. The US recorded 235,272 new infections on Friday, the second daily record in a row for the world’s worst-hit nation.

Large-scale public vaccinations are expected to roll out within weeks. But the WHO is warning against ‘vaccine complacency’ saying that exists an erroneous belief that the Covid-19 crisis will be over after people are vaccinated.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan, says that not everyone will be able to receive the medicine early next year.

“Vaccination will add a major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job. Vaccines do not equal zero Covid.”

The WHO also announced yesterday that 51 candidate vaccines are currently being tested on humans… 13 have reached Phase 3 mass testing and headed towards approval.

Meanwhile in the US, the Centres for Disease Control is now recommending “universal face mask use” indoors for the first time and President-elect says he will “ask all Americans to wear a mask for 100 days”.

Britain became the first Western country to approve a vaccine from the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate, for general use, adding additional pressure for other countries and pharmaceutical giants to swiftly follow suit. Businesses and logistics companies specialising in cold storage and insulating containers are preparing for the Pfizer and BioNTech injection as their vaccine needs to be stored and transported at -70 degrees Celsius.

In the US, Belgium, France and Spain inoculations will begin later this month and January for the most vulnerable, then broader community groups.

In south east Asia, Singapore Airlines will prioritise freight capacity to ship the new vaccines and will conduct test flights soon to trial the transport into south east Asian hubs. The airline says that Boeing 747-400 freighters, and some specially-purposed passenger aircraft, will be ready to boost capacity where needed.

The logistics of a successful vaccine rollout are challenging enough, but the vocal rump of vaccine sceptics, aka. anti-vaxxers, peddling misinformation and mistrust, continue to colour public discourse on the topic. Social media platforms have recently been active in removing much of this misinformation but admit that they will never be able to intervene with all comments.

To counter this President-elect Joe Biden, WHO director-general Tedros and former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, have all said they will be inoculated publicly to help build confidence. Other world leaders are throwing their support behind positive promotions of the new vaccines offering their arms for the first jabs in their countries.

SOURCES: AP | Reuters | WHO


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  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    How can a vaccine be a “magic bullet” when over 60% of the French, for example, won’t take it?

    Not because they’re “anti-vaxxers” but because they think the vaccine they’re being advised to take hasn’t been tested adequately, isn’t effective enough for those who need it, and that it’s being rushed out for political reasons not medical ones.

  2. Avatar


    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Biden not a president… what planet are you on?

  3. Avatar


    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    Vaccines as no magic bullet, perhaps so. But, widespread vaccination is as close to a magic bullet as they come. Widespread and well planned vaccination programs have led to the eradication of polio, small pox, etc.

  4. Avatar

    Don R

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Article was nothing but blubbering media stupidity from beginning to end, as we’ve come to expect.

    2020 has certainly been the year of pearl clutching milk sops.

    It must be a moment of great vindication for E Asians who wore masks superstitiously for years, even though there’s still no good evidence supporting the use of masks. However, it seems to me that Asia skipped the first two more important steps in infectious disease prevention:

    Step 1: If you’re sick, stay home.
    Step 2: Wash your hands with soap.

    I was in a restaurant last night where one of the staff had an obvious cough and the sniffles, yet was still carrying plates to tables. In the West people actually get sent home if they show up sick at work, and that was *before* Rona. I’ve also noticed that here in Asia the staff never properly wash their hands, aside from a rare splash of water in the sink.

    It’s pretty obvious that E Asians are already fairly resistant to Rona and/or their reporting is just not that good.

  5. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 1:23 am

    Bingo…vaccines are not a silver bullet. Truer words never spoken. Reopen and offer subsidies to bolster tourism . This is a done deal , it’s just a matter of when the government capitulates . The locals who want to remain on lockdown out of paranoia will be left with sending negative comments to Thethaiger…

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 1:47 am

    I have to take exception to quite a few of your points.

    “… E Asians who wore masks superstitiously for years …”

    What “superstition”? Genuinely, what “superstition” are you talking about?

    The two main drivers behind wearing face masks, at least in Thailand, are religion and health / vanity – not superstition.

    Strict Buddhists value the sanctity of all life, however small, and that meant not just being vegan but protecting flies and mosquitoes from being killed by being inhaled which could only be done by wearing a face mask – that’s not “superstition”, but a religious tradition for some.

    It’s also for protection from the sun – partly to stop melanoma / skin cancer, and partly to avoid going ‘black’ out of vanity. Even labourers and those working in the fields in Isaan will often wrap an old t-shirt round their faces to protect themselves from the sun. That’s not “superstition” but health and vanity.

    “there’s still no good evidence supporting the use of masks”

    I suggest the proof of the pudding’s in the eating.

    While the West sees “no good evidence”, that’s because the “evidence” they’re looking for is personal protection while the East don’t see masks as offering the wearer any protection but as protecting others from the wearer – ‘You’re protecting me, and I’m protecting you’.

    Even now, the West still can’t grasp that.

    “it seems to me that Asia skipped the first two more important steps in infectious disease prevention:

    Step 1: If you’re sick, stay home.
    Step 2: Wash your hands with soap.”

    Well, if Asia “skipped” them and they’ve still got better results, doesn’t that suggest that they’re not as “important” as the West thinks?

    Maybe people here can’t afford to “stay home” aa much as they can in the West …

    … and maybe people actually are washing their hands a lot more than you think. Macro, Big ‘C’, Lotus, 7-11, banks, local markets, and many others are over flowing with free hand gels after a brief shortage, and Thailand had a marked reduction in contagious infections this year compared to last.

    I’m not doubting your personal experience, but again the proof of the pudding …

    The idea that “it’s pretty obvious that E Asians are already fairly resistant to Rona” makes no rational sense at all – do they somehow become less resistant when they move to or visit the West, when they’re at least as vulnerable to Covid-19 as anyone else?

    .. and I can’t be bothered to point out the absurdity of the suggestion that “their reporting is just not that good” yet again given the minimal numbers who are symptomatic as anyone actually here can’t fail to see.

  7. Avatar


    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Covid19 is just flu, stop all the bullshit restrictions now!

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