World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organized by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) on the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. 3 July. 2020.
Fabrice Coffrini | Swimming pool | Reuters
World Health Organization CEO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week that deaths from COVID-19 fell to their lowest level in nearly a year last week, with nearly 50,000 deaths.
Covid deaths are declining in all regions except Europe, but inequalities in vaccination continue to plague much of the developing world. Tedros said 56 countries had missed the WHO target of vaccinating 10% of their populations with Covid by the end of September, adding that reported deaths were the highest in countries with the least access to vaccines.
“This is still an unacceptably high rate of almost 50,000 deaths a week,” Tedros said at a Covid-19 briefing. “And the real number is definitely higher.”
Three countries – Burundi, Eritrea and North Korea – have yet to begin distributing vaccines, Tedros said, noting that most of the 56 countries with less than 10% vaccination rates are in Africa. Half of the 52 African countries vaccinated against Covid have fully immunized 2% or less of their population, according to a September 30 WHO report.
Tedros said last Thursday that high- and middle-income countries have used 75% of all Covid vaccinations developed during the pandemic, while less than 5% of the African population has been fully vaccinated. On Wednesday, he called on rich countries to end the spread of Covid booster shots to help meet the WHO target of immunizing 40% of each country by the end of the year.
“Achieving 40% requires a whole-of-government approach and community-wide participation that depends on political leadership and civil society leadership,” Tedros said.
WHO officials have been condemning the global deployment of Covid boosters for weeks in hopes of reallocating surplus vaccines to low-income countries and blocking future outbreaks and their variants. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres joined WHO’s Covid briefing last week to condemn the global vaccine inequality as “immoral” and “stupid”, adding that low vaccination rates in the global south could contribute to mutation of vaccine-resistant Covid variants …
Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from Covid and 10 times more likely to need hospitalization because of their symptoms. The CDC found that unvaccinated people are about 4.5 times more likely to contract Covid.