WHO chief says ‘false narrative’ being driven that pandemic is over
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that in some countries, high vaccine coverage combined with the lower severity of the omicron coronavirus variant are driving a false narrative that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, according to Anadolu Agency.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus held a video conference in which he addressed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a meeting in Washington at which he expressed his gratitude for the health leadership of the US.
The COVID-19 Global Action Meeting was called by the US on the coronavirus pandemic just two years after it was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the WHO, the highest level of medical alert.
“This historic initiative comes at a critical time,” said Tedros at the meeting.
“In some countries, high vaccine coverage combined with the lower severity of omicron is driving a false narrative that the pandemic is over.”
The WHO chief said that at the same time, low vaccine coverage and low testing rates in other countries are creating the ideal conditions for new variants to emerge.
“We can bring the pandemic under control this year – but we are at increased risk of squandering that opportunity,” said Tedros.
He explained that currently, 116 countries are not reaching the shared target of vaccinating 70% of the population of every nation by the middle of this year.
Tedros cited international tools such as the ACT Accelerator and the COVAX pillar “and our partnership with UNICEF,” with which the world is overcoming some of the supply and delivery constraints faced last year, with more than 1 billion vaccine doses shipped.
Tedros called on all countries to vaccinate and support the WHO’s global target of 70%.
“Second, to save lives now, we ask all countries to contribute their fair share to fully fund the ACT Accelerator, especially for the immediate need of $16 billion,” he said.