A WHO report states that vaccines save millions of lives each year and that vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences, which is the immune system; to recognise and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target.
“If the body is exposed to those disease-causing germs later, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness,” the report reads.
Immunisation is said to currently prevent two to three million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles.
There are reportedly new vaccines to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, and work is said to be ongoing at unprecedented speed to also make COVID-19 a vaccine-preventable disease.
WHO meanwhile says there are currently over 169 COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development, with 26 of these in the human trial phase.
The body says it is working in collaboration with scientists, business, and global health organisations through the ACT Accelerator to speed up the pandemic response. When a safe and effective vaccine is found, COVAX – the vaccine pillar of Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator will facilitate the equitable access and distribution of these vaccines to protect people in all countries.
People most at risk will be prioritised, WHO further states.