Story at a glance

  • There have been advances in a handful of late-stage vaccine trials.
  • Ryan said the health agency has been working to help increase production capacity of potential vaccines and to expand its access.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech announced that the U.S. reached a $1.95 billion deal with the two companies for an initial order of 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine if it proves to be safe and effective.

While the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has surpassed 4 million — according to multiple sources — a World Health Organization (WHO) official says don’t expect the first COVID-19 vaccinations this year. 

During a live Q&A session streamed on social media Wednesday, Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies program, said while there has been advances in a handful of late-stage vaccine trials in terms of the ability to generate an immune response, people likely won’t be getting vaccinated until early 2021. 


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“We’re making good progress,” Ryan said. “Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated.” 


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Ryan said the health agency has been working to help increase production capacity of potential vaccines and to expand its access. 

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“And we need to be fair about this, because this is a global good. Vaccines for this pandemic are not for the wealthy, they are not for the poor, they are for everybody,” Ryan said. 

His comments came on the same day Pfizer and BioNTech announced that the U.S. reached a $1.95 billion deal with the two companies for an initial order of 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine if it proves to be safe and effective. 

If the vaccine is effective, the U.S. will have the option to acquire up to 500 million more doses. The potential vaccine is set to go into phase three trials as early as this month. 

Worldwide, more than 15.2 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed with more than 624,000 deaths. The U.S. has surpassed 4 million confirmed cases and has more than 143,000 deaths.


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Published on Jul 23, 2020