The World Health Organisation has urged countries to stop prioritising COVID-19 vaccination for younger adults ahead of health workers, old people and vulnerable groups.
The WHO made the call on Monday during a virtual media briefing on COVID-19.
Speaking at the media briefing, the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also urged countries not to put their people at risk.
“It is encouraging to see health workers in lower-income countries starting to be vaccinated, but it’s regrettable that this comes almost three months after some of the wealthiest countries started their vaccination campaigns.
“And it’s regrettable that some countries continue to prioritise vaccinating younger, healthier adults at lower risk of disease in their own populations ahead of health workers and older people elsewhere.
“Countries are not in a race with each other. This is a common race against the virus. We are not asking countries to put their own people at risk.
“We are asking all countries to be part of a global effort to suppress the virus everywhere,” he said.
Tedros also lamented the sudden rise in reported cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally.
“You remember that I reported that the virus was declining for six consecutive weeks, but for the first time in seven weeks, we have an increase.
“The reported cases increased in four of WHO’s six regions: the Americas, Europe, South East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean – so we don’t report increases in Africa and the Western Pacific.
“This is disappointing, but not surprising. We are working to better understand these increases in transmission. Some of it appears to be due to relaxing of public health measures, continued circulation of variants, and people letting down their guard,” he said.
While noting that vaccines are crucial to saving lives, the WHO DG cautioned against relying solely on them to combat the viral pandemic.
“Even as vaccines continue to roll out, we urge all governments and individuals to remember that vaccines alone will not keep you safe.
“We can only realise this vision with the support and cooperation of all partners,” he said.
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