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Inequity in access to jabs prolonging COVID-19 pandemic: WHO Chief

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the inequity in access to jabs is prolonging the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO Chief insisted that the priority should be to vaccinate the vulnerable population across the world rather than giving booster doses to the already vaccinated.

“No country can boost its way out of the pandemic,” he told reporters. The UN health agency has long decried the glaring inequity in access to COVID-19 vaccines amid rush in wealthy countries to roll out additional doses for its citizens.

Tedros argued that allowing COVID-19 to spread unabated in some places dramatically increases the chance of new, more dangerous variants emerging. He added that giving booster doses to vaccinated and healthy people will go in vain until at least 40% of people in all countries had received a first dose.

UN figures reveal the startling truth that about 67% of people in high-income countries have had at least one vaccine dose but not even 10% received in low-income countries.

“Blanket booster programmes are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than ending it, by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate,” WHO Chief told reporters. 

WHO Director-General Tedros on Wednesday however insisted that the vaccines available to fight the COVID-19 remain effective against both the Delta and Omicron variants.

(With Agency Inputs)

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