The Covid-19 immunisation programme is unfolding faster than anyone would have thought possible at the outset of the pandemic — or even just a few months back. A safe and effective vaccine, which usually takes years to develop, is now ready for mass distribution in less than a year. For the world, the move from containment (lockdown) to mitigation (immunisation) and normalisation cannot come soon enough.

Last week, we highlighted the different levels of lockdown stringency taken by different countries, with varying degrees of success. The overriding conclusion is that containment of this very contagious — and relatively fatal — virus is exceptionally difficult. And it comes at an extremely high cost, socially and economically.

Now that the first approved vaccine with high efficacy and no safety issue (in clinical trials) is available, there is little sense in continuing to pursue containment measures. Instead, we must move as quickly as possible towards mitigation and recovery.

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