The World Health Organization has warned people not to get complacent about COVID-19 now that the first vaccine doses have been rolled out, stressing that the vaccine doesn't mean the pandemic is over.
In an online press briefing Friday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the progress in vaccine development gives us all a boost and we can now start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But he expressed concern over the growing perception that the pandemic is over.
He said the truth is that at present, many places are witnessing very high transmission rates of the virus, which is putting enormous pressure on hospitals, intensive care units and health workers.
Mike Ryan, who is in charge of emergency situations at the WHO, also echoed this view, asserting that "vaccines do not mean zero COVID."
He said that vaccines and vaccination will add a powerful tool to our toolkit but by themselves, they will not do the job and therefore vaccines need to be incorporated into an existing public health strategy.
He also cited some data indicating the effect of vaccination may wear off over time.