WHO chief says COVID ‘acute phase’ may end this year if…
The world may see the end of the “acute phase of COVID-19 pandemic” by the end of 2022 provided at least 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, stated the World Health Organisation (WHO).
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “It’s not a matter of chance. It’s a matter of choice.” He was visiting the Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, which has produced the first mRNA COVID vaccine made in Africa using Moderna’s sequence. Afrigen is supported by the WHO and the COVAX initiative.
News agency AFP reported that the vaccine will be ready for clinical trials in November and approval is likely by 2024. Only 11% of Africans are inoculated, the lowest in the world. Last week the WHO’s Africa office said the continent must boost its vaccination rate “six times” to reach the 70 per cent target. The situation isn’t any better in other developing countries. Only 42 per cent of the population of Commonwealth countries have received a double dose of vaccination and there is a wide disparity between countries, Tedros pointed out.
“African countries of the Commonwealth have achieved an average vaccination rate of just 23 per cent. Bridging this gap is an urgent priority for WHO, not only for bringing the pandemic under control and saving lives, but also for protecting livelihoods, and supporting sustainable recovery,” the WHO chief said.
A few days back, Ghebreyesus said that the impact of COVID will be felt for decades even as the spread of virus is slowing down. He said the most vulnerable groups will be the worst affected and the impact would worsen as the pandemic drags on.
Meanwhile, the global coronavirus caseload has topped 394.7 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 5.73 million and vaccinations to over 10.05 billion.