Don’t waste the hope of vaccines, warns WHO

Covax will distribute 14.4 million Covid- 19 vaccine doses to 31 more countries next week, the WHO said Friday as it warned people not to waste, through complacency, the hope that vaccines bring.

The Covax global vaccine-sharing facility shipped more than 20 million doses to 20 countries as the scheme aimed at ensuring poorer nations get access to jabs took off this week.

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But the World Health Organization voiced fears that further waves of the coronavirus pandemic could be on the way if people think the roll-out of vaccines around the globe means the crisis is over.

“The arrival of vaccine is a moment of great hope. But it potentially also is a moment where we lose concentration,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a press conference.

“I really am very concerned that… we think we’re through this. We’re not.

“And countries are going to lurch back into third and fourth surges if we’re not careful.

“We should not waste the hope that vaccines bring… by dropping our guard in other areas.”

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the first full week of the Covax roll-out but said wealthy countries were nonetheless still leaving others behind in the vaccination rush.

Within Africa, Angola, the DR Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda have now received their first doses through Covax.

Elsewhere, Cambodia, Colombia, India, Moldova, the Philippines and South Korea have also taken deliveries.

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