World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the unbalanced distribution of Covid-19 vaccines around the world means ramped up programs in high-income countries could prolong the pandemic. by leaving poorer countries unvaccinated.
Tedros said in a press conference with the media: “It is puzzling that a year since the first vaccination, three-quarters of health workers in Africa are still unvaccinated.
“While some countries are currently implementing ramp-up programmes, only half of WHO member countries are able to meet their target of immunizing 40% of their population by the end of the year due to global supply. Distorted. He continues to supply enough vaccines globally this year, and the 40% target will be reached in every country by September if those vaccines are distributed equitably.
“About 20% of the total vaccine doses given each day are currently being given as booster or supplemental doses. Blanket enhancement programs are more likely to prolong the pandemic than end it by diverting supplies to countries that already have high levels of vaccine coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate. more,” said Tedros.
Tedros had previously called for a worldwide halt to booster doses and on Wednesday referenced a new WHO statement examining the worldwide use of booster doses.
“Today, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, or SAGE, is issuing an interim statement on the booster dose. SAGE concludes that the focus of vaccination must still be on reducing mortality and serious illness and expresses concern that mass-boosting programs will exacerbate vaccine inequality,” said Tedros.
In the statement, the organization cited a previous study from mid-November that showed that when studied together, the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines were effective against The severity of Covid-19 decreased by about 8% in six months. .
In people over the age of 50, research showed a 10% reduction in effectiveness against severe disease after six months. The WHO calls this a “minimal to modest” reduction in efficiency, but says the Omicron variant could change the situation.
“It’s important to remember that the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, not people without taboos. And we have to be very clear that the vaccine we have, is still effective against both the Delta and Omicron variants,” said Tedros.
In the interests of equity, the focus of the states within should be on “improving coverage of the primary series of immunizations in high-risk populations such as the use of vaccine doses,” the statement said. primary care”.
The WHO and SAGE statement also noted that 126 Member States have recommended some form of booster or supplemental immunization, mostly in high- and middle-income countries. “In some countries where booster doses are being used, coverage for primary complete immunization is less than 30%,” the statement said.