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International Vaccine Institute for Covid Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination card holder is handed out at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club on December 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

According to the leading expert, if 2021 was the year of vaccine development, then 2022 will be the year of vaccinations and boosters.

“2022 will be the year of vaccination – either primary vaccination for people who haven’t been vaccinated, or booster vaccinations for those of us who did,” said Jerome Kim, CEO of the International Vaccine Institute, an independent non-profit vaccination organization. researching vaccines for poor countries.

Hopefully this will also herald a year in which anti-Covid drugs come to the fore and make treatments more effective, Kim told CNBC’s Asia Street Signs on Monday.

At the end of December, the FDA authorized the use of two emergency Covid-19 antiviral pills, a milestone in the fight against the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 5 lives since its inception in late 2019. , 4 million people worldwide.

Pfizer’s oral treatment for Covid, called Paxlovid, was the first oral antiviral drug approved for emergency use in the United States. Another was Merck’s antiviral pill known as molnupiravir, which has been approved for use in adults with mild to moderate Covid at risk for severe disease. disease.

By the end of 2021, the more common omicron variant had emerged, and the number of cases worldwide had skyrocketed in recent weeks.

The number of cases in the US hit a record high last week. Nationwide new daily new cases hit a record seven-day average of more than 265,000 as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It surpassed the previous record of about 252,000 daily new cases set on January 11 last year, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. …

On Friday in Asia, South Korea said it would extend restrictions following a spike in serious Covid infections.

Getting the vaccine for those who need it

A key priority in 2022 is providing vaccines to the people who need them, especially in poorer countries with limited access, Kim said.

“It is very important to note that omicron is not an omega and we will see additional mutants and variants of concern and hopefully we will become fairer in the use of vaccines,” he said.

“Increasingly the offer [of vaccines] won’t be a problem. The question will be: who can pass this vaccine to people who need vaccination. This will be the key to 2022 – vaccinating people, ”Kim said, adding that there are“ significant numbers of people ”in low-income countries who have not received a single dose of the vaccine.

According to Our World in Data, about 58.3% of the world’s population received at least one dose of Covid vaccine, but only 8.5% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

The world must fill the diagnostic gap

Kim also drew attention to the so-called “diagnostic gap” in the diagnostic phase of Covid-19.

“This means that in low-income countries they don’t do as many tests and definitely don’t do as many sequences,” he said. Such efforts to genomic sequencing of coronavirus case samples are helping to track new variants.

He added that countries need to “deal much better” with this gap.

“This is the sequencing of variants from around the world that allows scientists to know if a new worrying variant is emerging,” Kim said. “Dealing with this as quickly as possible is the key to success if we want to open up, because we know that air travel is quite effective in spreading the coronavirus.”


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