The administration of the fourth dose of Covid vaccine has been criticised by the WHO
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), has criticised the countries that are proceeding to administer the fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
“At the current rate, 109 countries in the world will not be able to meet the goal of having 70 per cent of their population vaccinated by mid-2022. The essence of the disparity is that some countries are proceeding with a fourth vaccination, while others have not even been able to vaccinate their health workers”, Tedros lamented, adding that “we must close the inequalities of last year”.
“Reinforcement after reinforcement, these few countries will not put an end to the pandemic as long as there are millions of unimmunised people in the rest of the world”, stated the WHO director-general. “We must find another way to proceed in the short term, sharing the vaccines that are produced, although this was not the case in 2021”.
Tedros has called on world leaders to “start over” in this new year, and commit to the campaign to vaccinate 70 per cent of the world’s population by July 2022. “To leave the most acute part of the pandemic behind, highly effective tools must be shared with all countries of the world”, he reiterated.
The leader of the United Nations health agency added that, while some countries have managed to continue with their vaccination programs, “many do not have the essential elements that richer countries have”
“Vaccine inequality kills and destroys jobs, and undermines economic recovery,” stressed Tedros. He also voiced his belief that new variants will continue to appear in countries with low vaccination rates as long as equity is not achieved.
“Omicron seems to be less serious than Delta, especially for those vaccinated”, Tedros added, but clarified that, “this does not mean that it should be categorized as mild, because it continues to kill people, and produce hospitalisations”.
“The tidal wave of cases is so overwhelming that health systems are overloaded. Hospitals do not have enough staff to face this burden, which does not prevent preventable deaths, not only from Covid, but from other ailments”, Tedros warned.
According to the epidemiological report published yesterday by the WHO, global cases of Covid-19 increased 70 per cent in the week from December 27 to January 2. That is a percentage never seen before. Deaths from the disease though fell 10 per cent in that same period.
Last week there were 9.5 million confirmed infections worldwide, a figure that was almost double the previous weekly records. Deaths were 41,000, which is the fourth consecutive week of decreases in deaths, despite the current virulent wave of infections.
Paradoxically, America, the continent where the increase in cases was greater (100 per cent), was also the region where deaths fell the most (18 per cent). In Europe, with a 65 per cent increase in positives, deaths were down 6 per cent.
In absolute figures, Europe was the continent with the most infections registered in the study week (5.3 million), and more deaths (22,000), while in America 3.2 million positives and 10,000 deaths were reported. At the current rate, Europe, with 103 million cases since the start of the pandemic, will soon surpass America (104 million) in confirmed Covid-19 infections.