“I do not consider we have now the proof on any of the vaccines to be assured that it may stop individuals from truly getting the an infection and due to this fact having the ability to move it on,” Swaminathan mentioned.
“We have to assume that individuals who have been vaccinated additionally must take the identical precautions until there is a sure stage of herd immunity. It is a dynamic in an evolving area.”
Australia’s said purpose is to suppress all neighborhood transmission. A number of states, together with Victoria, which went right into a harsh three-month lockdown earlier this 12 months, have eradicated the virus, recording no new circumstances for consecutive weeks.
New South Wales has imposed localised restrictions because it races to curb an outbreak first detected within the week earlier than Christmas.
The nation’s elimination technique has hinged upon its powerful border bans, which stop Australians from leaving the nation until they’re granted an exemption and imposes caps on the variety of residents who can return, after which they have to quarantine for 2 weeks below guard in a resort.
Dr Mike Ryan, director of WHO’s Well being Emergencies warned that COVID-19 was right here to remain.
“The seemingly state of affairs is the virus will turn into one other endemic virus, a virus will stay considerably of a menace however a really low stage menace within the context of an efficient international vaccination program,” Dr Ryan mentioned.
“The existence of a vaccine, even at a excessive efficacy, there is not any assure of eliminating or eradicating an infectious illness, that could be a very excessive bar for us to have the ability to recover from,” he mentioned.
“At the start we have now to concentrate on saving lives, getting good management of this epidemic so our societies can return to regular after which we are going to cope with the moonshot of probably having the ability to eradicate or eradicate this virus. However at this level, based mostly on the instruments and the information we have now, that is unattainable to say at this level.”
Dr David Heymann from London’s College of Tropical Medication and Hygiene went additional.
“It doesn’t matter what we have achieved up to now, it can proceed to unfold, regardless of vaccines, regardless of therapeutics, regardless of diagnostic checks,” he mentioned of the virus. “We’ve to be taught to stay with this and use the instruments that we are able to in one of the simplest ways attainable.”
He likened the present pandemic to smallpox and the usage of the “imperfect vaccine” to regulate and ultimately eradicate the illness.
Well being Minister Greg Hunt has been contacted for remark.
Latika Bourke is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based mostly in London.