Mr. Guterres appreciated the increasing coverage of immunization around the world, especially among high-risk populations, and the fact that on average countries have immunized around three-quarters of the population. healthcare workers and the elderly.
COVID-19 Measures are increasingly being incorporated into routine health programs, and new antiviral drugs are coming soon.
The gap is still there
However, there are still gaps in coverage and protection, Mr. Guterres said. Rates of booster vaccination in all countries are minimal, and vaccination rates are low in poorer countries. He also warned of a “black pandemic” of vaccine procrastination and misinformation, which needs to be tackled.
The UN chief also called for testing rates to be drastically improved and for countries to ensure they are fully prepared for future pandemics. “Making progress to close these gaps is what today is all about,” said Mr. Guterres. “It’s time to build political momentum to get the work done on COVID-19.”
UNICEF / Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi
‘We have never been in a better position to end COVID-19’
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the UN health agency WHOhas had to make many upbeat remarks since the start of the pandemic but, at Friday’s event, he was able to send a remarkably positive message.
With so many people vaccinated and deaths from the virus at the lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, he said, the international community “has never been in a better position to end COVID-19 as a pandemic.” global health emergency”.
However, Tedros echoed concerns raised by Mr Guterres, and referred to a report, released on Thursday by Mr. WHO Access to COVID-19 Tools The Accelerator Council (ACT) revealed that most low- and middle-income countries have virtually no access to new antiviral drugs.
While Accelerator is making progress, delivering nearly 1.5 billion doses of vaccine and helping 68 countries reach vaccination coverage rates of at least 40%, more needs to be done, Tedros said: We’re not there yet, but it’s ultimately in sight.”
© UNICEF // Chris Farber
‘Step by step, we are making progress’
United Nations Children’s Agency, UNICEFhas played a key role in ensuring the vaccine is made available to those who need it, especially the most vulnerable.
In her opening remarks, Omar Abdi, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, reminded those present at the event of some of her agency’s achievements in addressing the health crisis.
These include administering more than 12.4 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine; financing and implementing the largest scale of super cold chain in history (UNICEF has funded and delivered 800 super cold chain freezers to nearly 70 countries in 2021 only); and ships more than 1.2 billion items of personal protective equipment to protect frontline and healthcare workers and others in 142 countries.
“Step by step, we are making progress, but we need to maintain momentum to protect the world against future surges and new variations,” Ms. Russell said. Because as long as coverage continues to be unfair, the pandemic will continue, and so will the serious risks it poses to children.”
The head of UNICEF drew audience attention to some of the direct effects of the pandemic on children, its biggest victims, already facing devastating health impacts. , education and happiness.
Frequent stabs plummeted
Routine vaccinations for other diseases have been significantly disrupted; Ms. Russell points to WHO and UNICEF data showing that 25 million children will not be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis – a marker for general immunization – by 2021.
“This is the largest, sustained drop in routine childhood immunization rates in a generation,” she warned, “potentially wiping out 30-year progress if we don’t get it right.”