STORY: WHO Vaccine Advice
TRT: 02 min 50s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 9 MARCH 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday that a critical shortage of vaccines has left some countries unable to start COVID-19 inoculation campaigns, while insisting on a “vaccines and” - rather than a “vaccines-only” – approach to prevent infections spreading.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, WHO spokesperson Dr Margaret Harris said that “vaccination is beginning to show good effects” in countries that have been able to start their vaccination programmes.
“We all need to be vaccinated now”, she insisted, amid efforts to quadruple the global production of vaccines from the current output of around five billion.
Preliminary results from countries such as the United Kingdom have shown that vaccination programs have averted very large numbers of deaths, Dr. Harris explained.
But she warned against complacency and appealed for greater vigilance to prevent transmission of the virus: “We have to do it all, we have to do all the public health social measures, we have to get better at the quarantine, better at the self-isolation, better at the tracking tracing and really, really do it, everywhere.”
Highlighting Brazil’s “terrible losses” from the new coronavirus, Dr Harris reiterated that “public health social measures work” – a message later echoed by WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who urged countries during a scheduled Press conference later on Friday to “stop saying, ‘It’s vaccine only,’ it’s ‘Vaccine and.’”
Dr. Harris acknowledged that it is “very difficult for people living in crowded conditions, so they need the support at every level to avoid the crowding, avoid the close contact, everyone who is potentially infected needs to be identified”.
Brazil recorded more than 4,000 Covid-related deaths in 24 hours for the first time on Thursday, as a more contagious variant fuelled a surge in cases.
To date, the country has seen the second highest death toll from the coronavirus after the United States – more than 340,000 deaths – and as of early April, it had dispensed nearly 20 million doses.
But the world faces a “serious shortfall” of vaccines which has left many countries waiting to begin their inoculation campaigns, Dr. Harris said.
Highlighting the misunderstanding that getting vaccinated stops transmission, Dr. Harris said that this was not the case.
She also warned that the rise in cases and deaths in all regions around the world is in part owing to “an increase in the variants” and “some of it is due to people going out of lockdown and interpreting that as a signal that they got back to this old normal, that as we know has not been working.”
“We need to bring down the transmission while giving the vaccination the chance to stop the severe disease and the severe deaths,” she insisted.