WHERE – Inequality in vaccination rates worldwide prolongs pandemic

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The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has been critical of the widespread aid programs developed by developed countries, explaining that the poorer countries are deprived of valuable doses and unable to achieve greater levels of immunity, the pandemic will be prolonged and the risk of new outbreaks , perhaps more dangerous, mutations.

“Indiscriminate booster programs are more likely to prolong the pandemic than to end it, as by channeling the available doses to countries that already have high vaccination rates, the virus is more likely to spread and mutate,” explained the Adanom Gebregus Center. . In fact, as he pointed out, “no country will be able to get out of the pandemic in commemorative doses.”

With the spread of the Omicron variant signaling a new strong wave, the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are clearly unvaccinated. This means that unequal access to vaccines between the developed and developing world remains a major problem that continues to fuel the continuing pandemic.

According to the WHO, at least 126 countries have launched programs or guidelines for booster doses or additional vaccinations of the population. These are mainly high- and middle-income countries, while in no poor country has an incentive program been set up yet.

For this reason, as Tentos Antanom Gebregesus explained, there should be no illusion that it is enough to give booster doses to get out of the pandemic.

“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 pandemic,” he said, noting that vaccines are effective against both Delta and Omicron.

According to WHO data, only half of the organisation’s member states will have managed to fully vaccinate, at least 40% of their population, by the end of the year. As long as the rest of the population does not have access to vaccines, the pandemic will continue and there will be suitable conditions for new, perhaps more dangerous mutations to appear.

Research into Omicron’s birth concludes that the strain was created by an unvaccinated HIV-positive patient in South Africa, where only 26% of the population is fully vaccinated.

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