Cover recall issues risk prolonging pandemic, WHO chief warns
BERLIN (AP) – The head of the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday that widespread recall programs in rich countries risked prolonging the global battle against COVID-19 and said “no country can get out of the pandemic “.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the priority must be to reduce deaths and help all countries meet minimum immunization targets that many still have not met. And he noted that “the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths concern unvaccinated people, not non-doped people.”
Tedros said that although vaccines have saved many lives this year, their unequal sharing “has cost many lives”. In 2021, 3.5 million people have been lost to COVID-19, he said, and âwe all need to take extra precautionsâ as the new omicron variant progresses.
The WHO chief has previously called for a moratorium on reminders for healthy adults until the end of this year to counter the uneven global distribution of vaccines. He told an online press conference on Wednesday that about 20% of the vaccine doses given each day are currently boosters or extra doses.
“General booster programs are likely to prolong the pandemic rather than end it, by diverting supplies to countries that already have high levels of immunization coverage, giving the virus more opportunities to spread and mutate. “, added Tedros.
He said it was “frankly difficult to understand” that three quarters of health workers in Africa are still unvaccinated and that global supply distortions mean that only half of WHO member countries have. been able to meet the goal of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of this year.
Tedros renewed his call on manufacturers and other countries to prioritize the COVAX program to get doses to countries most in need and “work together to support those who are furthest behind.”
âUnless we vaccinate the whole worldâ¦ I don’t think we can end this pandemic,â Tedros said. But he added that the authorities now know more about the virus and have effective tools to fight it; “We need to add to this full implementation and fairness, and hope 2022 will end this pandemic.” “