Shafaq News/ The second year of the pandemic of the novel coronavirus infection may result in a higher death toll than the first one, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual meeting in Geneva on Friday.
“Trickle down vaccination is not an effective strategy for fighting a deadly respiratory virus. COVID-19 has already cost more than 3.3 million lives and we’re on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first.” Ghebreyesus stressed.
The head of the WHO urged the global community to use "a combination of public health measures and vaccination" in the fight against the pandemic. Urging those countries that have large volumes of vaccines against the coronavirus infection to share them with those who lack them through the COVAX mechanism, the official named this mechanism "the fastest way to ensure equitable rollout of vaccines."
It urged rich countries on Friday to reconsider plans to vaccinate children and instead donate COVID-19 shots to the COVAX scheme that shares them with poorer nations.
The WHO is hoping more countries will follow France and Sweden in donating shots to COVAX after inoculating their priority populations to help address a gulf in vaccination rates.
Canada and the United States are among countries that have authorized vaccines for use in adolescents in recent weeks. However, a WHO official said talks with Washington on sharing doses were under way.
“I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to COVAX,” WHO chief said.
So far, around 1.26 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered globally.
Tedros also said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a huge concern.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of the coronavirus through India’s vast countryside on Friday, as the country’s official tally of infections crossed 24 million and over 4,000 people died for the third straight day.
More than 160.71 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and nearly 3.5 million have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
WHO officials urged caution in lifting measures that contain transmission, such as mask wearing, and warned that more variants were bound to be detected.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks outdoors and could avoid wearing them indoors in most places.
“Very few countries are at the point where they can drop these measures,” said Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan.