October 7, 2021: -On Tuesday, a World Health Organization official said that unvaccinated people are “dying unnecessarily” from Covid-19, citing global vaccine inequities as the main obstacles to immunizing people against the virus.
Few 56 countries decreased short of the WHO’s goal of getting 10% of their populations immunized against the virus by September end, officials said in a Q&A live-streamed on its social media channels. The increase in vaccine access would help the Covid deaths and hospitalizations to come down as the world approaches 5 million coronavirus fatalities, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19.
“Not meeting that target is heartbreaking; it’s over heartbreaking, it’s more than frustrating,” she said. “It’s beyond words, and I have to say because if we had used the over 6 billion vaccines that have been administered today, we would be in a different situation right now.”
She said the data on Covid vaccines shows that they are safe and effective at preventing hospitalizations and death.
“They just need to be accessible” to more people, she said. “The result of this is people who are dying unnecessarily,” she added.
Van Kerkhove’s comments echo those of U.S. health officials that said that almost all Covid deaths recorded all over the nation have been among patients that are not vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on September 10 that people who are not vaccinated are 11 times likelier to die from Covid, ten times more reasonable to require hospitalization for their symptoms, and roughly 4.5 times more likely to contract the virus overall.
But with inoculations stalling in poorer nations and hospitals that struggle to keep up with the transmissible delta variant, Van Kerkhove said vaccines should be prioritized for those who are very vulnerable, and she called for the use of masks and social distancing to mitigate against Covid outbreaks.
“You can’t have it both ways, where you have everything opened up, and you have everybody living, and they pretended that this is over while you have your ICUs full,” Van Kerkhove said.
The WHO is opposing the distribution of Covid booster doses, which urges wealthier countries to distribute their supplies to developing nations in hopes of immunizing nearly 40% of every country by the end of the year. The disparities in distribution are evident in Africa, where the organization reported on September 30 that just 15 of the continent’s 54 nations have vaccinated 10% of their population.
Over two dozen countries on the continent have immunized 2% or less of their populations, while the agency said that two African nations have yet to receive any vaccines.