Tedros said 56 countries had not reached the World Health Organization’s goal of vaccinating 10% of their population against Covid by the end of September, adding that reported deaths were highest in countries with the least access to the vaccine.
“It’s still an unacceptably high level, nearly 50,000 deaths a week and the real number is definitely higher,” he added.
Last Thursday, Tedros said that high- and middle-income countries have used 75% of all COVID doses developed during the pandemic, while less than 5% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated. On Wednesday, he called on wealthy countries to stop distributing COVID-boosted doses to help meet the World Health Organization’s goal of immunizing 40% of every country by the end of the year.
While WHO officials have denounced the global spread of Covid boosters for weeks, hoping to reallocate surplus vaccines to low-income countries and prevent future outbreaks and variants.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres joined the World Health Organization’s COVID briefing last week to condemn global vaccine inequality as “unethical,” adding that low vaccination rates in the global south could fuel a boom in vaccine-resistant Covid variants.
Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that unvaccinated individuals are 11 times more likely to die from Covid and 10 times more likely to need hospitalization due to their symptoms.