In a world of more than 7 billion people, more than 10 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered by the end of January 2022. But more than 3 billion people globally have yet to receive even the first dose of the vaccine.
While there were enough doses of the vaccine to protect those most at risk from COVID-19, we didn’t vaccinate it fairly. Are some more equal than others? Mahatma Gandhi rightly said that our world has enough for everyone’s needs but not for anyone’s greed.
Only 7% of people in Africa received a single dose of the vaccine by the end of January 2022. In some countries, less than 50% of most people are at risk, including health care workers and workers. other frontline members, have been vaccinated.
More than half of the world’s countries will fall short of the global target of immunizing at least 70% of the population by June 2022. Nine out of ten people hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. .
“Those who are fully immunized are 20 to 50 times less likely to be hospitalized,” said Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Emergencies Program.
Protection against acute illness by COVID-19 is increased in vaccinated individuals who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, such as those with comorbidities.
“The reality is that the majority of people who come to the hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” Dr. Ryan added.
Due to vaccine inequality, as well as the appalling failure to break the chain of transmission, the number of new COVID-19 infections has skyrocketed.
Dr Ishwar Gilada, infectious diseases expert, who spoke to CNS (Citizens News Service).
This is more than 2 million as reported in the third week of January 2022 and another 6 million as reported in the second week – such a high weekly number of COVID-19 cases not reported in 2021 and 2020.
The time has come for us to fully understand the risk of not breaking the chain of infection and the patchwork of vaccination coverage: the more the virus circulates in our population, the greater the risk of new mutations and the emergence of new mutations. the emergence of new variants is increasing.
Who is responsible for putting the unvaccinated at high risk of COVID-19-related hospitalizations or even death? It is not the vaccine shortage that has failed us, it is the deep-rooted injustice and social injustice that has historically caused us to fail on a range of human development indicators, as well as promoted vaccine deployment.
“We may have all the technology and innovation, but if we don’t have mechanisms in place to ensure that the fruits of science, technology and innovation are shared equitably, we will By far in this pandemic, the biggest failure is that Dr. Michael Ryan has rightly said.
He echoes what Mahatma Gandhi said in his Amulet almost a century ago: “I will give you an amulet. Whenever you doubt, or when the ego becomes excessive with friend, apply the following test – “Remember the faces of the poorest and the weakest [woman] someone you may have seen, and ask yourself if the step you are planning will be of any use to him [her]. He will [she] What is achieved by it? It will restore him [her] to control [her] your own life and destiny? In other words, it will lead to swaraj [freedom] for millions of spiritually hungry people? Then you will find your doubts and self will disappear. ”
There is no doubt that if we are to deliver on the promise of “Health for All”, then the health system must meet the needs of the poorest of the poorest and the weakest in a fair and equal.
And the same quality of service for the weakest of the weakest should be the standard for everyone else.
Reducing pressure on the health system is an imperative priority
Since most people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, this pressure on the health system could be avoided if we had equitably vaccinated everyone over the past year since Vaccine rollout begins.
As health systems come under pressure from COVID-19, healthcare services for non-COVID-19 health conditions will be in jeopardy resulting in untimely human suffering and death.
The best way to avoid pressure on the health system is to ensure that the highest proportion of our population is fully vaccinated, especially those in high-risk groups and those with underlying medical conditions. .
Agreed Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead on COVID-19: Personally, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is important because it saves you from going to the hospital by reducing your risk of developing serious illness.
This will also free up those beds and services for those who need them because of COVID-19 or other health conditions.
Viruses may not go away but can get out of an emergency
The SARS-CoV-2 virus may not go away, but it is possible to reduce the risk of getting infected with it. It can also reduce the risk of health emergencies such as hospitalization, needing oxygen or mechanical ventilation or intensive care services, or untimely death.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said: “The virus will not go away but what can go away is an emergency. We can minimize the number of hospitalizations and deaths, and therefore limit.” those at higher risk of disease.
Dr. Mike Ryan sums it up nicely: “We are defined as a civilization not by how we treat the wealthiest, but by how we treat the most vulnerable. dearest – that’s the measure of our society and right now we don’t measure it.”