In his New Year address, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that Covid-19 pandemic will end in 2022 “if we end inequity” together.
“While no country is out of the woods from the pandemic, we have many new tools to prevent and treat COVID-19. The longer inequity continues, the higher the risks of this virus evolving in ways we can’t prevent or predict. If we end inequity, we end the pandemic,” he said.
Highlighting that Covid-19 is not the only health threat the world’s people will face next year, Tedros said that millions of people have missed out on routine vaccination, services for family planning, treatment for communicable and non-communicable diseases.
He further stated that to help prepare the world for future epidemics and pandemics, “we established the new WHO BioHub System for countries to share novel biological materials”.
All the countries must focus on vaccinating more and more of their populations, added the WHO chief. “We need all countries to work together to reach the global target of vaccinating 70 per cent of people in all countries by the middle of 2022,” said Tedros.
A new variant of coronavirus, named Omicron, recently emerged in South Africa and has been causing a surge in Covid-19 infection across the world. It has already been classified as a ‘variant of concern’ by the WHO.
A few days ago, Tedros had said at a media briefing that “2022 must be the year we end the pandemic”.
The remarks were made after the WHO gave emergency use authorisation to ninth vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) under license from Novavax. The WHO chief said that the new vaccine is part of the COVAX portfolio, and hoped that it will play an important role in achieving global vaccination targets.