Representation image.

(KK Choudhary / BCCL Bombay)

General vaccine recall programs are likely to prolong the COVID-19 pandemic rather than end it due to the uneven distribution of vaccines between rich and developing countries, the head of the organization has warned. World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference that “diverting supplies to countries with already high levels of immunization coverage” would give the virus “more opportunities to spread and mutate, ”the Xinhua News Agency reported.

WHO has already called on countries to reach the goal of immunizing 40% of their population by the end of the year, but only half of WHO member states have been able to achieve it, which is mainly due to the global inequity of immunization. distribution, according to Tedros.

While some countries are now rolling out general vaccine booster programs, he said three in four health workers in Africa were still unvaccinated by the end of 2021, a year after the first vaccines were administered. Had these vaccines been distributed fairly, he added that the 40% target could have been reached in all countries by September.

As the vaccine supply continues to improve, WHO projections have shown that it should be sufficient to immunize the entire global adult population and give boosters to high-risk populations by the next month. first quarter of 2022, but it will not be until 2022 that the supply will be sufficient for heavy use of the booster supply in all adults.

Also on Wednesday, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) released an interim statement on booster doses. Although SAGE confirmed that the effectiveness of the vaccine against severe Covid-19 decreased by around 8% over six months in all age groups, especially in adults over 50, it remained careful about recall programs.

SAGE warned that “in the context of current constraints and inequalities in vaccine supply globally, large-scale booster doses may exacerbate access to vaccines by increasing demand in the world. countries with substantial immunization coverage and diverting supply, while priority populations in certain countries, or subnational settings, have not yet received a primary series. ”He therefore requested that booster programs are evidence-based and targeted to the population groups most at risk for serious illness and those needed to protect the health care system.

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The above article was posted from a wireframe source with minimal title and text edits.