- The World Health Organization warned that new coronavirus variants could emerge during pandemics that render existing vaccines useless.
- “It is possible that new variants may evade our countermeasures and become completely resistant to existing vaccines or to previous infections, requiring vaccine adaptation,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
- Reactionary political movements promoted vaccine inequality and “created ideal conditions for the emergence of new forms,” he said.
The World Health Organization warned on Wednesday that new coronavirus variants could emerge during the pandemic that render existing vaccines useless.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva, “As this pandemic progresses, it is possible that newer versions may escape our countermeasures and become completely resistant to current vaccines or previous infections.” There is a need for vaccine adaptation.”
Tedros Heard That Alarm As Covid Cases reach record highs The latest surge in several countries, including the US, has been driven by the spread of the new and highly permeable Omicron variant, more than 21 months after the WHO first declared COVID a pandemic.
Tedros reiterated his frequent call to work with nations to improve global supply and access to COVID vaccines and other critical health equipment.
He also criticized reactionary nationalist and populist political leaders who “reduced equality and created ideal conditions for the emergence of new forms.”
“Misinformation and disinformation, often spread by small numbers of people, has been a constant distraction undermining trust in science and life-saving health tools,” the world health leader said.
He added that “in the vast waves of cases currently seen in Europe and many countries around the world, the misinformation that has prompted vaccine hesitation is now translating to a disproportionate death toll.”
Experts say that COVID vaccines such as shots from Pfizer and BioNTech are still effective in preventing serious disease from Omicron. While they can still prevent serious disease, they are much less effective at preventing infection than Omicron. Booster shots, on the other hand, significantly increase protection against symptomatic disease caused by Omicron.
Tedros warned on Wednesday that manufacturers will have to tweak their shots if a vaccine-resistant strain of the virus emerges, which will “potentially lead to a new supply shortage.”
He said it is important for countries to build up their local manufacturing supplies of vaccines before this happens.
“If we don’t improve the collective response, this virus will continue to evolve and threaten our health system,” Tedros said. “I am highly concerned that Omicron, being more permeable, is circulating at the same time as Delta, causing a tsunami of cases.”
Vaccine supplies are currently improving, he said, reiterating his criticism that rich countries’ booster-shot programs are making it harder for poorer countries to get any vaccines. This growing inequality could prolong the pandemic.
Despite the ongoing public-health threat and the potential for future challenges, Tedros said he is “optimistic”. acute stage The pandemic may end in 2022.