The UN well being company has lengthy warned that the obvious inequity in entry to Covid vaccines, which has left many weak folks in poorer nations with no single jab as richer nations roll out broad booster programmes.
“Blanket booster programmes are more likely to extend the COVID-19 pandemic, quite than ending it, by diverting provide to nations that have already got excessive ranges of vaccination protection, giving the virus extra alternative to unfold and mutate,” WHO Director-Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised reporters.
“No nation can increase its method out of the pandemic.”
His feedback got here because the Omicron variant’s lightning sprint across the globe because it was first detected in South Africa final month has dampened hopes the worst of the pandemic is over.
The brand new variant is spreading at unprecedented velocity and has already been detected in 106 nations, the WHO stated.
Early information indicating that the heavily-mutated variant just isn’t solely extra transmissible than earlier strains, however may very well be higher at dodging some vaccine protections, though further doses seem to push safety ranges increased.
However Tedros stated Wednesday that the present vaccines proceed to supply important safety towards extreme illness from Omicron.
“It is essential to keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of hospitalisations and deaths are in unvaccinated folks, not un-boosted folks,” he stated.
He additionally confused that all of us should take all essential precautions to halt the unfold of Covid as we head into the Christmas vacation.
“Boosters can’t be seen as a ticket to go forward with deliberate celebrations,” he stated.
The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Specialists (SAGE) on Immunisation stated Wednesday that a minimum of 126 nations all over the world have already issued suggestions on boosters or further vaccine doses, and 120 had began implementing these programmes.
“No low-income nation has but launched a booster vaccination programme,” it stated in an announcement.