| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

WHO warns against vaccine hoarding as world is in a ‘perilous situation’

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned several nations against hoarding vaccines for booster shots in an attempt to battle the new Omicron variant. The World Health Organization further warned that the world is not on its path to meet the target as he said that the world is in a “perilous situation.”
The experts are still working to find out how the efficacy of existing vaccines are against Omicron. Elaborating on vaccine inequity, Tedros said, “Despite our best efforts in the year since the start of the global vaccination campaign, low and lower-middle-income countries have been left behind.”
As per WHO, the new variant now accounts for 46 per cent of reported cases globally.
Experts had earlier warned that as the rich countries rushed to vaccinate their citizens and start the booster shot campaign, it would have been much better if they would have helped poor countries get vaccinated. As per these experts, the failure to successfully vaccinate the poorer countries against coronavirus led to the creation of a breeding ground for the Omicron variant.
“Omicron is with us because we have failed to vaccinate the world,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAids and co-chair of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a campaign group. “This should be a wake-up call.”
Meanwhile, another report by WHO highlighted that there could be a global syringe shortage of around two billion next year.
The production needs to ramp up or the situation may lead to hoarding and panic buying. It will also hit the efforts to protect people against several illnesses, the WHO said.
“We are raising the real concern that we could have a shortage of immunisation syringes, which would in turn lead to serious problems, such as slowing down immunisation efforts. Depending on how the vaccine uptake goes, it could be a deficit of anywhere from one billion to two billion,” Lisa Hedman, WHO senior advisor to the Division of Access to Medicines and Health Products, told AFP.