The head of the World Health Organization has made another appeal for the developed world to reconsider how COVID vaccines are being distributed because just 0.3 percent of the global supply is going to low-income countries.
“Trickle down vaccination is not an effective strategy for fighting a deadly respiratory virus,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “India remains hugely concerning, with several states continuing to see a worrying number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”
But it’s not only India that is seeing a spike in cases, as the troubling variant first seen there spreads into Algeria, Nigeria and dozens of other countries.
“Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Egypt are just some of the countries that are dealing with spikes in cases and hospitalizations,” said Tedros during his Friday WHO briefing. “Some countries in the Americas still have high numbers of cases and as a region, the Americas accounted for 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths last week.
“There are also spikes in some countries in Africa.”
More than 3.3 million people have died because of the pandemic, including nearly 126,000 on the African continent, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half of the fatalities are in South Africa, although a new report from the South African Medical Research Council suggests many COVID deaths are uncounted – a reality that’s likely the case in other African nations.
African health ministers who met with the Africa CDC last week also said they were “indignant at the fact that Africa faces severe delays to accessing life-saving vaccines for COVID-19,” and urged the global community to continue its efforts to share vaccines more widely with the world.