As people in rich countries begin to get booster vaccinations amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the World Health Organization leader warns that universal access to supplemental doses in highly vaccinated countries could exacerbate global vaccine inequality and prolong pandemics.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said on Wednesday, that imbalance would give “the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate”.
“It’s important to remember,” he said, “that the majority of hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, not uninhibited people.” He then added: “No country has been able to accelerate the path out of the pandemic.”
Since the Covid vaccine was developed about a year ago, rich countries have greater access rights with them though global effort to close that difference. According to a New York Times Tracker. Only 0.9% of the dose was used in low-income countries.
“It is difficult to understand why, a year after the first vaccination, three-quarters of health workers in Africa are still unvaccinated,” Ghebreyesus said.
He did not criticize specific countries by name on Wednesday, but said it was “certain that the unfair sharing of those vaccines has caused a lot of harm to many people” and questioned “why?” Several countries are currently implementing comprehensive strengthening programmes.
Governments in Europe and elsewhere are accelerating vaccination as scientific evidence accumulates that two doses of the vaccine are not enough to prevent infection from the highly contagious variant of Omicron, despite although this vaccine seems to reduce the risk of hospitalization and serious illness. Some public health experts have opposed a step-by-step approach have changed their mind since the variant appeared.
This week, Israeli leaders said they would provide a fourth batch of vaccines for people over 60 years old and healthcare workers. France has shortened the wait time before people can receive a booster shot from five months to four months. I will provide all eligible adults booster shot to the end of the year, one month earlier than planned.
And in the United States, where health officials have encourage booster injections for all adults, Omicron variant is pushing more than half of all vaccinated adults to get booster shots, according to recent data Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
Although health officials and epidemiologists are encouraging Americans to get vaccinated and boosted, however, Everything is going slow. Just over half of Americans 65 and older – the population most vulnerable to the severe consequences of the virus – have received booster shots.
Public health experts fear that socioeconomic disparities in US immunization rates will worsen as booster shots are rolled out. Difficulty taking time off work and disconnecting from health care systems contributed to the persistent condition Immunization rate disparity among the most socioeconomically vulnerable counties.
With the holiday celebrations coming up, Mr Ghebreyesus warned that people who have had booster shots should not rely on them as a substitute for other safety measures such as wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings in their homes.
“Boosters cannot be seen as a ticket to go ahead with the planned celebrations without other precautions,” he said, adding that the new year “must be the end of the Covid pandemic” as well. “the beginning of something else: a new era of solidarity. ”