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WHO: Vaccine Approval Does Not Mean End of Pandemic

A sign in the Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic at the University Hospital in Coventry, central England is pictured on Dec. 4, 2020, prior to the NHS administering jabs to the most vulnerable early next week.

Officials with the World Health Organization cautioned Friday that approval of a vaccine for use in Britain this week does not mean the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Speaking at the organization’s regular briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said many places around the world are facing very high transmission rates of coronavirus, and even as vaccines are approved, people must still follow national and local measures to limit the spread of infection.

He said decisions made by citizens and governments would determine its course in the short run and when the pandemic would ultimately end.

WHO Health Emergency Executive Director Mike Ryan concurred, saying the presence of vaccines does not equal zero COVID-19. He said that while “vaccines and vaccination provide a major, powerful tool to the toolkit that we have, but by themselves, they will not do the job.”

Ryan said people will have to continue to work on managing their personal behavior and hygiene. He said they will also need to recognize that the vaccine will not be available to everyone for a while.

Tedros was asked if he would, as many world leaders have offered to do, take the vaccine to show that it is safe. He said he would, but only if it was his turn, “because I don't want to take anybody's vaccine."