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International locations in Asia-Pacific not assured early entry to Covid vaccines, WHO says


A pharmacist prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at UCI Medical Middle in Orange, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.

Bing Guan| Bloomberg | Getty Photographs

The World Well being Group (WHO) stated Thursday that international locations within the Asia-Pacific area usually are not assured to have early entry to Covid-19 photographs and urged them to undertake a long-term method to the pandemic.

“The event of protected and efficient vaccines is one factor. Producing them in satisfactory portions and reaching everybody who wants them is one other,” WHO Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai advised reporters within the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Whereas some international locations which have unbiased vaccine buy agreements may begin vaccination campaigns within the coming months, others might see vaccination start within the center or late 2021, stated Dr. Socorro Escalante, the WHO’s coordinator for important medicines and well being applied sciences.

“It is essential to emphasise that almost all, if not all, the international locations within the Western Pacific area are part of the COVAX Facility,” stated Escalante. “Inside the COVAX Facility we expect that the vaccines can be coming in on the second quarter of 2021.”

COVAX was arrange by WHO, vaccines alliance GAVI and CEPI, a world coalition to struggle epidemics, in an effort to make sure equitable entry to vaccines the world over.

WHO representatives additionally urged that high-risk teams ought to be prioritized for vaccination as vaccines will solely be obtainable in restricted portions.

The well being company warned that mass vaccination is not going to cease the virus and that governments must undertake a long-term mindset and method when new instances are detected, together with elevated testing, contact tracing and quarantine measures.

“The virus doesn’t relaxation, and so, due to this fact, we have to proceed with our responses guaranteeing that they’re carried out constantly,” stated WHO Regional Emergency Director Dr. Babatunde Olowokure.

Olowokure additionally appealed to youthful individuals — which symbolize a rising variety of new confirmed instances within the area — to stick to social distancing and different measures.

The WHO Western Pacific Area is residence to nearly 1.9 billion individuals throughout 37 international locations and territories.

Globally, the virus has contaminated greater than 74 million individuals and killed greater than 1.6 million. Greater than 41.9 million individuals have recovered from the illness.