World

Delta variant identified in at least 98 countries : WHO Chief

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 03, 2021

Calls for 10% population in every country to be vaccinated by Sept 2021

 

The Delta variant of Covid-19, which has been identified in at least 98 countries, is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries, World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday.

According to the WHO Chief, the world is in a very “dangerous” period of the Covid-19 pandemic, “compounded by more transmissible variants, like Delta, which is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries.”

 

“The Delta variant is dangerous and is continuing to evolve and mutate, which requires constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response. Delta has been detected in at least 98 countries and is spreading quickly in countries with low and high vaccination coverage,” Ghebreyesus said at the briefing.

The WHO Chief focused on vaccine equity and sharing of protective gear and other equipment apart from public health and social measures such as masking, social distancing, etc. to control the pandemic

Vaccinations

He further urged world leaders to work together in order to vaccinate 70 per cent of people in every country by this time next year and 10 per cent of people in all countries by September 2021.

“This is the best way to slow the pandemic, save lives, drive a truly global economic recovery and along the way prevent further dangerous variants from getting the upper hand,” the WHO Chief said.

“By the end of this September, we’re calling on leaders to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of people in all countries,” he added.

This is to protect health workers who are at most risk. So far, already three billion vaccines have been distributed.

The WHO Chief further called for ramping up vaccine manufacturing by sharing vaccines as well as the technology and the know-how.

Global distribution

“It is within the collective power of a few countries to step up and ensure that vaccines are shared, manufacturing is increased and that the funds are in places to purchase the tools needed. There is now some sharing of vaccines happening but it’s still only a trickle, which is being outpaced by variants,” the WHO Chief said.

“In those countries whose hospitals are filling up, they need vaccines and other health tools right now. New manufacturing hubs – including for mRNA vaccines – are being developed but this could be accelerated by companies openly sharing technology and know-how,” he said.

He further urged those companies such as BioNTech, Pfizer and Moderna to share their know-how in a bid to speed up the development of new production.

“This week, the leaders of IMF, World Bank, WTO and WHO met again to look at practical ways to track, coordinate and advance the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. Collectively we also made several asks to the G20 to accelerate global efforts to reach our vaccine targets,” he said.

Separately, Ghebreyesus urged countries that have launched “vaccine certificates” to ensure that it does not lead to discrimination against those people and countries that have either a lack of vaccines or a certain type of vaccine.

“As you know WHO issues Emergency Use Listings for vaccines based on a stringent assessment of safety and efficacy and we expect all countries to recognise and accept those vaccines that WHO has approved,” he said.

Published on July 03, 2021

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