World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said Monday during a press conference that there is not enough evidence that the new COVID vaccine prevents infection. Dr. Swaminathan’s comments came after a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald questioned the WHO chief scientist. “I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore passing it on” she said. News of her remarks were posted by ThePostMillennial.com via twitter @TPostMillennial.
The reporter asked Dr. Swaminathan several probing questions. “I’m interested in your views on how you think the vaccine will work in the context of elimination?” “What does that mean, in the long term, where people are vaccinated overseas?”. “Does that ensure that they are not a risk travelling to countries that have almost zero community transmission?” “Or do you think that those who have been vaccinated will still need to quarantine if they’re going to countries that have low transmission?” he asked.
Dr. Swaminathan responded “I think that’s a really important question, and I think that what we’re learning now and we continue to wait for more results from the vaccine trials”. “I think that at the moment, I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore passing it on”.
“I think until we know more, we need to assume that people who have been vaccinated also need to take the same precautions until there’s a certain level of herd immunity, of course, that’s been built into the population” she said. “This is a dynamic and evolving field. Our understanding and our recommendations will change as we get more follow up data from these trials” WHO colleague, Dr. Michael Ryan added, that full elimination required a “much higher degree of efficiency and effectiveness in the vaccination program.”