The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said today, Wednesday, that there should be no illusion that it is enough to give booster doses to get out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“No country will be able to get out of the pandemic in commemorative doses, and commemorative doses are not a green light to celebrate as we envisioned,” WHO Director-General Antanom Gebregesus told a news conference in Geneva.
“Discriminatory booster programs have every chance of prolonging the pandemic, rather than ending it, by channeling available doses to countries that already have high vaccination rates, giving the virus a greater chance of spreading and mutating,” he said. Organization.
“It is important to remember that the vast majority of illnesses and deaths are people who have not been vaccinated, not those who have not received a booster dose,” he said. “Vaccines remain effective against Delta variants as well as Omicron.”
“As we approach the new year, we must all learn from the painful lessons that this year has taught us. “2022 must be the end of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
According to the WHO Committee on Vaccine Policy Experts (SAGE), at least 126 countries have already given guidelines for booster doses or additional vaccinations – to children, for example – and 120 of them have already launched campaigns.
The vast majority are high- and middle-income countries, while “no poor country has yet introduced a booster dose program,” SAGE said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, in a press release, the head of the WHO technical team for COVID-19, Maria van Kerkov, said that there is still not enough information about the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, so we can say if it is more contagious than the Delta variant.
“We do have some data that show that the rates of hospitalization are lower,” he said, but warned against drawing conclusions from early data because “we have not seen this variant circulate long enough in populations around the world, in vulnerable populations.” ».
The WHO official also said that the details of the new variant, first identified in southern Africa and Hong Kong in November, are still “misplaced” as countries announce its arrival and spread.