Shortly after Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) sought authorisation from the U.S. FDA for its COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all adults, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke up against the inequitable distribution of vaccines that he dubbed a “scandal”.
Every day, there are six times more boosters administered globally than primary doses in low-income countries. This is a scandal that must stop now.
Only 6.0% of the population is fully vaccinated in Africa
The World Health Organisation has been calling on developed nations to pass on their vaccine surplus to low-income countries in pursuit of its target to get at least 40% of the population in all countries fully vaccinated by the end of the year.
Midway through November, over 100 countries are yet to achieve that target, as per WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan. The brunt of the “scandal” particularly fell upon Africa, with only 6.0% of the population fully vaccinated so far.
The global public health agency needs roughly 500 million more doses to hit its year-end target, Dr Swaminathan added.
COVID-19 on the rise again in Europe
To make things worse for the WHO in its battle against the global pandemic, new cases of the Coronavirus are again on the rise in Europe. The continent reported roughly 2 million new cases last week, accounting for nearly 63% of global cases.
According to WHO’s technical lead on the COVID-19 crisis, Maria Van Kerkhove, it was the lack of compliance with public health measures, including social distancing and face masks, that was fuelling another wave of Coronavirus in Europe. She said:
In the Northern Hemisphere, we are entering the winter months. People will spend more time indoors. What we are saying to all countries right now is look at your situation, critically assess the situation that you’re in right now and make adjustments.
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