— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) October 13, 2021 “But it’s still an unacceptably high level – almost 50,000 deaths a week, and the real number is certainly higher,” he said, speaking during the regular WHO briefing from Geneva.
“Deaths are declining in every region except Europe, where several countries are facing fresh waves of cases and deaths. And of course, deaths are highest in the countries and populations with the least access to vaccines.” WHO had previously pushed governments to vaccinate 10 per cent of their populations by the end of September, a target which 56 nations missed, most of them in Africa.
As of Wednesday, there were more than 238 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, and more than 4.8 million deaths. Tedros said even more countries are at risk of missing the 40 per cent target to be achieved by the end of the year. Three countries – Burundi, Eritrea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – have yet to start vaccinations.
Missing the mark Tedros appealed for global cooperation. “Countries that continue to roll out boosters now are effectively preventing other countries from vaccinating their most at-risk populations,” he said.
Tedros urged countries and companies that control global vaccine supply to prioritize distribution to the COVAX solidarity initiative and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT). “About half of the remaining countries are constrained by supply. They have a vaccination programme underway, but don’t have enough supply to accelerate enough to reach the target,” he said.
“With aggressive and ambitious action, most of these countries can still reach the 40% target by the end of this year, or be on a clear pathway to reaching it.” Crisis in Tigray Meanwhile, WHO and partners are working with other countries, such as those affected by fragility or conflict, to strengthen technical and logistical capacity for vaccine rollout.
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