It has been a long year for many around the world whose lives have been uprooted by the global coronavirus pandemic. In nearly every country there has been some form of national or local lockdown that has prevented loved ones from seeing each other, friends from embracing, and businesses from business as usual. In the West especially, where the pandemic has taken a strong hold as repeated lockdown measures have failed to quell the virus’ spread, hopes have been resting on the possibility of a vaccine instead to help life return back to ‘normal’.
There has been good news for people in places like the UK and the US who have already seen the elderly and frontline health workers beginning to be vaccinated – just in time for the new year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) however, has made repeated warnings that the response to coronavirus needs to be a global one, describing how it will be impossible for any country to return fully back to ‘normal’ if the virus remains elsewhere in the world as a second contamination would always be possible.
For those that have struggled and restrained themselves during the many months of lockdown this year, the thought of the pandemic stretching into 2021 is the least desirable option. Relief comes then with the news that the WHO has secured two billion doses of the vaccine, with plans to acquire more doses imminently, for low and middle income countries who would otherwise not be able to afford it. The project comes as a result of partnership with international vaccine relief project COVAX. The WHO has also been financially supporting the work to install fridges in developing countries in order to help with the vaccine distribution once it is ready. The need for fridges comes from the vaccine needing to be stored at low temperatures to ensure its effectiveness.