WHO hopes more countries will follow France and Sweden in donating vaccines to COVAX after inoculating their priority populations.
The World Health Organization has urged rich countries to reconsider their plans to vaccinate children and instead donate COVID-19 vaccines to the COVAX program which shares them with poorer countries.
WHO hopes more countries will follow France and Sweden in donating vaccines to COVAX after inoculating their priority populations to help close a gap in immunization rates.
Canada and the United States are among the countries that have authorized the use of vaccines in adolescents in recent weeks. However, a WHO official said discussions with Washington over dose sharing are underway.
“I understand why some countries want to immunize their children and adolescents, but for now, I urge them to reconsider and donate vaccines to #COVAX,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday at ‘a virtual meeting in Geneva.
“In low- and lower-middle-income countries, the supply of COVID-19 vaccines has not even been sufficient to immunize health workers, and hospitals are inundated with people in need of life-saving care. urgently, ”he added.
COVAX, which has delivered around 60 million doses so far, has struggled to meet supply targets in part due to Indian export restrictions on the AstraZeneca vaccine due to its growing epidemic.
So far, around 1.26 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide.
Tedros also said the second year of the pandemic must be deadlier than the first, with India of huge concern.
“Saving lives and livelihoods through a combination of public health and immunization measures – neither – is the only way out,” Tedros said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm on Friday the rapid spread of the coronavirus across the vast Indian countryside, as the country’s official infection count crossed 24 million and more than 4,000 people died for the third day in a row.
At least 161 million people are believed to have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide and more than 3.3 million have died, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
WHO officials called for caution in lifting measures containing transmission, such as wearing a mask, and warned that more variants would inevitably be detected.
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks outdoors and could avoid wearing them indoors in most places.
“Very few countries are at the point where they can abandon these measures,” said Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist.