The world has lost one million people to COVID-19 so far this year, a “tragic milestone” as defined by the World Health Organisation, which has called for vaccinating more people against the disease.
“We cannot say we are learning to live with covid 19 when one million people have died with COVID-19 this year alone, when we are two-and-a-half years into the pandemic and have all the tools necessary to prevent these deaths,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during his regular briefing from Geneva.
The WHO chief urged governments to strengthen their efforts to vaccinate all health workers, older people and others at the highest risk, on the way to 70% vaccine coverage for the whole population.
COVID 19; PROGRESS FOR PRIORITY GROUPS
In the briefing, Tedros said he was pleased to see that some countries with the lowest vaccination rates are now gaining ground, especially in Africa. In January, WHO and partners launched Vaccine Delivery Partnership, focused mainly on the 34 countries that were at or below 10 per cent coverage. All but six are on the continent.
Today, only 10 countries still have less than 10 per cent coverage, most of which are facing humanitarian emergencies., he mentioned. “It’s especially pleasing to see that coverage of high-priority groups is improving, with many countries making impressive progress towards vaccinating 100% of health workers and 100% of older people,” he said.
COVID 19; VACCINATIONS STILL LAGGING
Pointing out that more must be done as one-third of the world’s population remains unvaccinated, the WHO Chief said two-thirds of health workers, and three-quarters of older persons in low-income countries are still to be vaccinated against the pandemic.
“All countries at all income levels must do more to vaccinate those most at risk, to ensure access to life-saving therapeutics, to continue testing and sequencing, and to set tailored, proportionate policies to limit transmission and save lives. This is the best way to drive a truly sustainable recovery,” he said.
The WHO says there have been 596,873,121 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,459,684 deaths as of August 26. As of 23 August 2022, a total of 12,449,443,718 vaccine doses have been administered.