The race for a vaccine against COVID-19 has been at an all-time ever since the pandemic began, with human trials currently being carried out by various governments and health agencies world over. On Friday, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement saying it does not expect widespread vaccinations against coronavirus until the middle of 2021. She maintained that there is considerable emphasis being laid in regard to the importance of meticulous checks on their efficacy and safety. 

Speaking to journalists during a news briefing in Geneva, spokeswoman Margaret Harris said, "We are not expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year." Referring to the clinical trials of the vaccines, she added, "This phase 3 must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to see how safe it is."

WHO on Thursday addressed the issue of allocation of sufficient resources to ensure a safe and effectual access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the African countries and said that donors and the medical industry should play their part. 

Richard Mihigo, Program Area Manager of Immunization and Vaccine Development of WHO, during a virtual briefing at Nairobi said, "Africa has often ended up at the back seat of vaccine development but this must not happen as the fight against COVID-19 pandemic enters a critical phase,". He added, "We must secure enough doses and give priority to the frontline health workers, the aged and people with underlying conditions in the continent."

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 26 million people, with the casualties toll mounting up to 8.66 lakh worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s tracker, while over 17.3 million have made a recovery to date from the infection after hospital treatment. The COVID-19 case count in India went up to 39,37,017 on Friday, with 83,341 new cases reported. The nation's death toll has risen to 68,472 after 1,096 persons succumbed to the disease, while more than 30 lakh people have recovered so far.