Amid rise in coronavirus cases due to the Omicron variant, the World Health Organisation(WHO) warned that “it is possible that new variants could evade countermeasures and become fully resistant to current vaccines or past infection”.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that “ending health inequity” is key to end the pandemic as he urged governments to ensure 70 per cent COVID-19 vaccine coverage in every country by July next year.
“This is the time to rise above short-term nationalism and protect populations and economies against future variants,” the WHO chief said.
Tedros conceded that supply chain disruptions was also behind the disruption of vaccine rollout worldwide even as 92 member states of the UN health organisation had missed the 40 per cent vaccination target.
“While 2021 has been hard, I ask everyone to make a New Year’s resolution to get behind the campaign to vaccinate 70% [against #COVID19] by the middle of 2022.
We have 185 days to the finish line of achieving 70% by the start of July 2022. And the clock starts now!”-@DrTedros
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) December 29, 2021
“The pressure on health systems is not only because of new COVID19 patients requiring hospitalisation but also a large number of health workers are getting sick themselves,” Tedros said, adding, “The unvaccinated are many times more at risk of dying.”
Watch: United States: Rise in hospitalizations of children as Omicron and Delta variant becomes dominant
The WHO chief expressed concern over the Omicron variant which he said was “more transmissible circulating at the same time as Delta is leading to a tsunami of cases.”
“Delta and Omicron are twin threats that are driving up cases to record numbers,” he said while pointing out that the two variants are leading to a spike in COVID-19 cases with hospitalisations and deaths.
Tedros asked people to stay away from “misinformation” and “disinformation” which has led to vaccine hesitancy “translating to the unvaccinated disproportionally dying”.
“Populism, narrow nationalism and hoarding of health tools by a small number of countries undermined equity and created the ideal conditions for the emergence of new variants,” Tedros said.
(With inputs from Agencies)