Briefing journalists successful Geneva, Tedros Ghebreyesus said that more than 18 cardinal cases were reported past week, and the pandemic itself is acold from over, truthful nary state is retired of the woods yet.
The fig of deaths remains stable, but the bureau is acrophobic astir the interaction the variant is having connected already exhausted wellness workers and overburdened wellness systems.
“I stay peculiarly acrophobic astir galore countries that person debased vaccination rates, arsenic radical are galore times much astatine hazard of terrible unwellness and decease if they’re unvaccinated”, Tedros said.
Omicron whitethorn beryllium little severe, but for the WHO main “the communicative that it is mild illness is misleading, hurts the wide effect and costs much lives.”
Tedros noted that the virus is circulating “far excessively intensely with galore inactive vulnerable” and argued that, for galore countries, the adjacent fewer weeks stay critical.
Over the weekend, the UN-backed COVAX facility delivered its one-billionth dose of vaccine.
Tedros said helium was proud of the milestone, but believes it’s indispensable to support forging up with distributing shots fairly, crossed the world.
“Vaccines whitethorn beryllium little effectual astatine preventing corruption and transmission of Omicron than they were for erstwhile variants, but they inactive are exceptionally bully astatine preventing superior illness and death”, helium explained.
For him, immunization continues to be “key to protecting hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.”
Tracking the virus
The WHO chief also highlighted the value of tracking new variants, similar Omicron, in existent time.
Tedros believes that the pandemic is “nowhere adjacent over” and, with the unthinkable maturation of Omicron, caller variants are apt to emerge.
So far, much than 7 cardinal full genome sequences from 180 countries person been submitted to GISAID, a planetary mechanics that provides open access to genomic information and was initially acceptable up to way flu.
Using each that data, caller formulations of vaccines are being developed and assessed for however they execute against different strains.
Despite those efforts, Tedros is acrophobic that the satellite volition enter “a 2nd and adjacent much destructive signifier of vaccine inequity”, if it doesn’t change course.
Omicron continues to expanse the 🌍. I stay acrophobic astir countries with debased vaccination rates, arsenic unvaccinated radical are galore times much astatine hazard of terrible unwellness & death. I impulse everyone to bash their champion to trim hazard of corruption & assistance instrumentality unit disconnected wellness systems. pic.twitter.com/CymL7Vxvel— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 18, 2022
For Tedros, the challenge, erstwhile again, is that precocious prices and constricted proviso means entree is limited.
WHO is currently working with its partners in ACT-Accelerator to negociate little prices with manufacturers and guarantee proviso volition beryllium disposable for low- and middle-income countries.
Next week, the WHO Executive Board, which is made up of 34 Member States, volition conscionable to sermon the world’s wellness challenges.
The pandemic volition stay astatine the forefront, but Member States volition besides beryllium discussing the devastating impact of the pandemic connected different wellness issues, and however the backsliding tin beryllium stopped.
According to the WHO chief, the agency willbe moving to accelerate advancement connected negotiations astir a global pandemic accord.
Cervical Cancer Awareness
On a last note, Tedros noted that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month.
In 2020, an estimated 604,000 women were diagnosed with cervical crab worldwide and astir 342, 000 women died from the disease.
The main origin of the disease is corruption with high-risk types of quality papillomavirus (HPV), an highly communal household of viruses that are transmitted done intersexual contact.
There are, however, vaccines that support against high-risk HPV types, which means it should beryllium 1 of the astir preventable and treatable forms of cancer.
On Monday, Serbia announced that this year,it will introduce a vaccination programme against HPV, joining the 116 nationswho already bash it.