The World Health Organization The head of the WHO (WHO) warned that “no country can get out” of the Covid-19 pandemic, as he warned that inequality in access to vaccines prolongs the crisis.
The haste of rich countries to deploy Covid vaccine The doses make it more difficult for other countries to get the vaccine, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.
He also warned that it was a wrong assumption for any country to think that boosters alone can ensure everyone has a safe holiday season.
Listen to our coronavirus podcast for the latest analysis
“No country can get out of the pandemic and boosters cannot be seen as a ticket to moving forward with the planned celebrations, without needing other precautions,” Dr Tedros said in a statement. press conference.
The WHO chief added that some countries are rolling out blanket boosts, while “global supply distortions” mean only half of WHO member states are on track to vaccinate 40 % of their population by the end of the year.
Why has the WHO said the booster programs will “prolong” the pandemic?
He said: “Widespread booster programs are likely to prolong the pandemic (Covid-19), rather than end it, by diverting supplies to countries that already have high levels of vaccine coverage, giving the viruses more possibilities to spread and mutate.
“It’s important to remember that the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, not unboosted people. And we need to be very clear that the vaccines we have are still effective against the Delta and Omicron variants. “
Dr Tedros added that the “global priority” must be to support all countries “to achieve our goals of immunizing 40% of the population of each country by the end of this year and 70% by the middle of. next year”.
His comments came as new figures showed more than 30 million additional doses of Covid-19 vaccine have now been administered in the UK, with a record 968,665 booster doses and third doses reported on Tuesday.
About 58% of all adults in the UK have now received a booster or third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, up from 46% a week ago, according to the PA news agency analysis.
Despite the success of the booster program, many scientists have urged the UK government to enforce tighter restrictions in England to avoid an upsurge in infections during the holiday season.
However, other experts disagree, saying one should resist the implementation of lockdowns unless absolutely necessary given the enormous social and economic consequences they bring to populations.
Earlier Wednesday, Dr Margaret Harris, public health doctor for the WHO, said they should be considered a “last resort” as a measure to control the pandemic.
“Blockages work, but the price you pay is very high – economically, socially and the price people pay for mental health,” she told ITV News.“It has a lot of other consequences that are very difficult to deal with.”