COVID-19 vaccine supply now sufficient but demand lacking – WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said supply for COVID-19 vaccine is now sufficient but demand is lacking particularly in countries with the lowest vaccination rates.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director general (DG) who said this at media briefing however warned that the pandemic is not yet over, hence the need to ramp up vaccination. He also informed that the number of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have continued to decline globally which according to him is “a very encouraging trend.
“Globally, there is not enough testing, and not enough vaccination,” he added, and warned that the perception that the pandemic is over is misguided, even though understandable.
Ghebreyesus further disclosed that more than 7,000 people lost their lives to the virus last week. “That’s seven thousand too many,” he said. The DG warned that a new and even more dangerous variant could emerge at any time, and vast numbers of people remain unprotected.
“The pandemic is not over, and we will keep saying it’s not over until it is. On average, about three-quarters of health workers and people aged over 60 globally have been vaccinated. But these rates are much lower in low-income countries. Almost 18 months since the first vaccine was administered, 68 countries have still not achieved 40 percent coverage,” the DG further said.
He informed that the WHO and its partners are working with countries to drive uptake by getting vaccines to where people are, through mobile units, door-to-door campaigns and by mobilizing community leaders.
On the Monkeypox virus, Ghebreyesus disclosed that more than 1,000 confirmed cases have now been reported to WHO from 29 countries that are not endemic for the disease. The DG said the sudden and unexpected appearance of monkeypox in several non-endemic countries suggests that there might have been undetected transmission for some time.
He also expressed concerns that the risk of monkeypox becoming established in non-endemic countries is real. “WHO is particularly concerned about the risks of this virus for vulnerable groups including children and pregnant women,” he added.
“But that scenario can be prevented. WHO urges affected countries to make every effort to identify all cases and contacts to control this outbreak and prevent onward spread,” Ghebreyesus further said.