Health experts say omicron variant is result of COVID-19 vaccine inequity, WHO discourages boosters until end of year – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2021-11-30 10:57:46 –

London-The emergence of new Omicron variants and the world’s desperate and futile attempts to keep them away reminds scientists of months of warning. Coronaviruses thrive as long as most of the world lacks vaccines.

Hoarding limited COVID-19 shots by developed countries, creating a virtual vaccine desert in many poor countries, does not just mean the risk of a shortage in parts of the world. It threatens the whole planet.

This is because the more the disease spreads to the unvaccinated population, the more likely it is that it will mutate, become potentially dangerous, and prolong the pandemic of all.

“The virus is a ruthless opportunist, and the inequality that characterizes the global reaction is now back in the roost,” said CEPI, CEO of CEPI, one of the groups behind the UN-sponsored COVAX shot-sharing initiative. Said Dr. Richard Hatchett.

Perhaps no place is more inequality than Africa, where less than 7% of the population is vaccinated. South African scientists warned the World Health Organization last week about a new variant of Omicron, but it may not be clear where it first came from. Researchers are now in a hurry to determine if it is more infectious or if the current vaccine can be avoided.

COVAX was supposed to avoid such inequality, but instead the initiative was terribly lacking and had already abandoned its original goal of 2 billion doses.

We need to ship more than 25 million daily to meet our reduction target of distributing 1.4 billion shipments by the end of 2021. Instead, the Associated Press analysis of shipments has averaged just over 4 million a day since the beginning of October, and on some days it’s below 1 million.

Recent shipments have increased, but are far from what we need.

On the other hand, in wealthy countries, there are often too many shots and many provide boosters. WHO does not recommend this, as all boosters are basically ineffective for those who have never taken the first shot. More than 60 countries are currently managing booster shots, despite the UN health agency’s appeal to countries to declare a booster shot moratorium until the end of the year.

Dr. Osmandar, director of the Chatham House One Health Project, said: tank.

Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s health policy manager, said the COVAX was restricted from the beginning after being pushed behind the vaccine queue by developed countries.

“The COVAX team may be delivering as quickly as possible, but we can’t deliver the vaccines they don’t have,” Marriott said.

According to calculations by the International Monetary Fund from mid-November, only 13% of the vaccines contracted by COVAX and 12% of the promised donations were actually provided. According to the Vaccine Alliance known as Gavi, about one-third of the vaccines dispensed by COVAX are donations, and the initiative is now the information center for those donated doses and was set up just to avoid it. The situation.

Last week, COVAX sent a news release praising the European Union’s commitment to ship 100 million vaccines to Africa by the end of the year, but only 1/20 of that amount was actually on board the plane. It wasn’t too much.

Aurelia Nguyen, COVAX’s managing director, was asked about the logistical challenge of distributing another 94 million doses in just six weeks, saying, “To move huge doses from now to the end of the year. I’m ready. “

In a statement, she said the problem was to ensure that “the conditions of the dose administered were correct.”

In minutes released prior to this week’s executive meeting, Gavi feared that the perception that developed countries were dumping old or scarce vaccines into poor countries could undermine the entire project. “Most of the donations so far have been extraordinary, with little notice and short lifespan,” he warned on Monday, especially in a joint statement between WHO and the African Union.

Anger over dumping is already very real. In Malawi and South Sudan, tens of thousands of old doses have been destroyed.

But, according to some experts, vaccination of poor countries is not the only problem. “It’s not enough to vaccinate people’s arms from the (airport) tarmac,” said Dr. Angela Wakuweya, senior director of health inequalities and rights at CARE.

For example, Congolese officials returned the entire COVAX shipment this summer when they realized they couldn’t administer the dose before it expired.

In a “risk management” report on COVAX, Gavi warned that “insufficient absorption” of vaccines by developing countries could lead to “wasting” of some doses. One issue is logistics. Just get the dose at the right time in the right country. But just as important, along with syringes and other necessary equipment, the healthcare system in countries that are often underfunded can distribute shots where they need them most. The third problem is to persuade people who sometimes hesitate to vaccinate.

However, World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Gebreez has argued that distribution is a problem, saying that supply is the only obstacle to immunization in poor countries.

Most doses of COVAX distributed so far have been AstraZeneca vaccines. This has not yet been approved in the United States and has stimulated anti-vaccine sentiment when the vaccine is associated with a rare blood clot due to its failed deployment in Europe. The predominantly used vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in much of the United States and Europe were available in very small quantities via COVAX.

The United States, which has blocked overseas vaccine sales and exports of key ingredients for several months, has given a total of 275 million vaccinations, more than any other country, but the Biden administration’s 1.1 billion pledges are large. The part has a deadline of September 2022. Union generally allows block-produced vaccines to be sold anywhere in the world, and in fact offers about one-third of the promised dose of 500 million doses. ..

Efforts to expand global production beyond the group of selected manufacturers have been stalled, and many activists and scientists have blamed the opposition of pharmaceutical companies to abandon the intellectual property rights of highly lucrative vaccines. increase.

Consider that the pandemic has not devastated Africa as much as many have feared, and was the worst in a richer country, as COVAX was unable to deliver the vaccine close to sufficient vaccines. Some people wonder if it’s worth fighting for a shot. .. This is a strategy that most public health authorities do not support.

“I think what Africa can really do to embarrass the world is to stop asking for vaccines,” said Christian Happi, a Nigerian virologist who was sitting on CEPI’s Scientific Advisory Board. “The vaccine hasn’t arrived yet. Anyway, you may find that you don’t need the vaccine as much as in the West.”


Hinant reported from Paris. The Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed from Washington.

Copyright © 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved.

Health experts say omicron variant is result of COVID-19 vaccine inequity, WHO discourages boosters until end of year Source link Health experts say omicron variant is result of COVID-19 vaccine inequity, WHO discourages boosters until end of year

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