WHO Chief asks countries not to vaccinate kids and donate to COVAX as COVID-19 to be ‘more deadly’ this year

New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday (May 14, 2021) asked countries not to vaccinate kids and urged them to donate vaccines to COVAX as COVID-19 to be ‘more deadly’ this year.

During a press briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the fact that so many people are still not protected against coronavirus is a sad reflection on the gross distortion in access to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe.

Ghebreyesus said, “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. Because in low and lower-middle-income countries, vaccine supply has not been enough to even immunize health and care workers, and hospitals are being inundated with people that need lifesaving care urgently.”

The WHO Chief informed that at present, only 0.3% of vaccine supply is going to low-income countries.

Ghebreyesus stated that COVID-19 has already cost more than 3.3 million lives and said, “We’re on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first.”

“Saving lives and livelihoods with a combination of public health measures and vaccination – not one or the other – is the only way out of the pandemic,” he added.

Ghebreyesus said that India remains hugely concerning, with several states continuing to see a worrying number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

He highlighted that WHO is responding and has shipped thousands of oxygen concentrators, tents for mobile field hospitals, masks and other medical supplies to help India fight second wave of coronavirus.

“But it’s not only India that has emergency needs. Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Egypt are just some of the countries that are dealing with spikes in cases and hospitalizations,” the WHO Director-General said.

He added that some countries in the Americas still have high numbers of COVID-19 cases and as a region, the Americas accounted for 40% of all COVID-19 deaths last week. 

“There are also spikes in some countries in Africa,” Ghebreyesus stated.

The world has so far witnessed over 16,15,54,788 confirmed coronavirus cases, of which, 33,53,195 have succumbed to the virus, as per Johns Hopkins University on Saturday (May 15) morning.

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