WHO: 2022 must be the end of the pandemic – Criticism of booster programs

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Its officials World Health Organization today criticized the universal booster programs and warned that Unequal access to vaccines could lead to more mutant strains.

“Generalized overdose programs are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than end it, by diverting supplies to countries that already have high levels of vaccine coverage, giving the virus more opportunities to spread and mutate,” said the WHO Director-General. .

In particular o head of the World Health Organization stated today that there should be no illusion that booster doses are enough to get out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“No country will be able to get out of the pandemic with booster doses and booster doses are not a green light to celebrate as we envisioned,” he said. Tentos Antanom Gebregesous, Director General of the WHO, at a press conference in Geneva.

“It’s 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.”, insisted and added: “And we have to be very clear” for the fact that “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 should be the end of the COVID-19 pandemic“, Said the head of the WHO.

According to the WHO Committee on Vaccine Policy Specialists (SAGE), at least 126 countries have already given instructions on booster doses or additional vaccinations (for children, for example) and 120 of them have already launched campaigns. In the vast majority, high- or middle-income countries, while “no poor country has yet introduced a booster program “, underlines SAGE in an announcement issued this afternoon.

Meanwhile, in a briefing to the media, the head of the WHO technical team for COVID-19, Maria van Kerkov, said that There is not yet enough evidence for the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus so we can say whether it is more contagious than the Delta variant.

“We do have some data showing that hospitalization rates 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, certainly in vulnerable populations.” ».

The WHO official also said that the evidence for the new variant, first identified in southern Africa and Hong Kong in November, is still “untidy as countries announce its arrival and spread.

Source: APE-BPE, AFP, Reuters, CNBC

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