Scientists predict the world may have a COVID-19 vaccine within one year or even a few months earlier, said the Director-General of the World Health Organisation even as he underlined the importance of global cooperation to develop, manufacture and distribute vaccines.
However, making the vaccine available and distributing it to all will be a challenge and requires political will, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday during a meeting with the European Parliament's Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
One option would be to give the vaccine only to those that are most vulnerable to the virus.
There are currently over 100 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in various stages of development.
Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic has highlighted the importance of global solidarity and that health should not be seen as a cost but an investment.
He added that all countries in the world must strengthen primary health care and crisis preparedness and stressed the need for EU leadership globally.
While the Director-General said the situation in the EU has improved significantly, he underlined that COVID-19 is very much still circulating globally, with more than four million new cases in the last month.
Many Members of European Parliament said that the global community must cooperate including in developing, manufacturing and distributing vaccines against COVID-19 and asked when a safe vaccine could be available.
Several Members of European Parliament underlined the importance of the WHO but also said it has made mistakes in its response to the pandemic.
The Director-General admitted everyone makes mistakes and informed the members that an independent panel will evaluate the WHO response to the pandemic to learn from any mistakes made.
It will start its work soon, he said.