Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said the coronavirus crisis could end this year – but warned of “vaccine hoardings” by rich nations that increase the risk of new variants
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This could be the year the world beats the Covid pandemic, says the head of the World Health Organization – but only if rich countries share their vaccines.
In a New Year’s message in 2022, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu on a note of hope as the coronavirus crisis enters its third year.
He said he was “confident” that this will be the year the pandemic ends, but warned of “close nationalism and vaccine hoarding”.
Dr. Tedros said vaccine inequality “created the ideal conditions for the Omicron variant to emerge.”
He said, “And the longer the inequality lasts, the greater the risks that this virus will develop in ways that we cannot prevent or predict.”
Latest data shows that many parts of the world are lagging behind – less than one percent of the population in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and Haiti are fully vaccinated, to Our world in data.
By comparison, the number is estimated at over 70 percent in high-income countries.
Dr. Tedros said addressing this inequality is key to ending the global nightmare and normalizing life.
In his statement, he said: “If we end inequality, we will end the pandemic.
“Through the ACT Accelerator, which also includes COVAX, WHO and our partners are helping to make vaccines, tests and treatments available to people around the world who need them.
“As we enter the third year of this pandemic, I am confident that this will be the year we end it – but only if we do it together.”
He said vaccines have saved millions of lives, adding that medical professionals now have new drugs to help prevent and treat Covid-19.
Eighty percent of patients in the hospital with the Omicron-Covid variant did not receive their booster vaccinations, the latest figures show.
Of 815 hospital patients with the mutated strain, 608 had not received a third vaccination, said the British health authority (UKHSA).
New data shows that booster vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalization with Omicron by up to 88 percent.
Hospital stays are starting to rise, with a 50 percent increase in a week.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health announced that almost 10,000 people with coronavirus had been admitted to the UK the previous week, 1,915 of them on December 27th alone.
However, experts caution against drawing any conclusions from the numbers, as some infections are discovered when people seek medical help about other problems.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said, “Fortunately, we have some of the strongest defenses this country has ever had during this pandemic, including our huge vaccination program, our juggernaut testing system and also our world-leading antiviral program.”
The cabinet member encouraged “more people to come forward” to join the 75 percent of eligible adults in England who have received a booster vaccination.
He added, “We have new data from UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) that suggests you are eight times more likely to be hospitalized without a vaccination.”
When asked about difficulties for NHS staff to get tested in the face of high health care absenteeism, Mr Javid said work is being done to give them “easy access” to testing.
“It is of course right that they should be prioritized for testing and they are prioritized,” added the Cabinet Minister.
“So not only do we have access to lateral flow tests through community channels that most of us would use, but also through NHS channels, and we work with them to distribute them to ensure that every NHS Employees have easy access to tests when needed. “