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WHO chief warns that vaccine alone wouldn't end COVID pandemic

How COVID vaccines are bulk manufactured
How anticipated COVID-19 vaccines are bulk manufactured under Operation Warp Speed 03:26

The head of the World Health Organization said Monday that a vaccine would not by itself stop the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic is raging months after it broke out, with infections soaring past 54 million and claiming more than 1.3 million lives.

"A vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them," director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic."

The WHO's figures for Saturday showed that 660,905 coronavirus cases were reported to the United Nations health agency, setting a new high water mark.

FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference in Geneva
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at news conference in Geneva on July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via Reuters

That number, and the 645,410 registered on Friday, surpassed the previous daily record high of 614,013 recorded on November 7.

Tedros said supplies of the vaccine would initially be restricted, with "health workers, older people and other at-risk populations being prioritized. That will hopefully reduce the number of deaths and enable the health systems to cope."

But he warned, "That will still leave the virus with a lot of room to move. Surveillance will need to continue, people will still need to be tested, isolated and cared for, contacts will still need to be traced ... and individuals will still need to be cared for."

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