The large-scale global distribution of vaccines against COVID-19 is not expected until mid-2021, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan told a press briefing on Friday.

“So realistically speaking, probably the second half, the middle of 2021 – maybe the second quarter, the third quarter of 2021 – is when we can start seeing doses actually flowing into countries so that they can start to immunize their populations,” Swaminathan said.

This timeline is based on the fact that Phase 3 trials of many candidate vaccines are not expected to be concluded until the end of the current year, the WHO’s chief scientist added.

“We expect results from some of the candidates, which are already in Phase 3 trials, to come by the end of the year or beginning of next year, following which they’ll have to be scaling [up] manufacturing to produce the hundreds of millions of doses that are going to be needed. In fact, the world is going to need billions of doses, and that is going to take time to manufacture. So we have to be optimistic and realistic at the same time,” Swaminathan commented. (ANI/Sputnik)

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