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Covax will be distributing 14.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 31 more countries next week, the WHO said Friday when it warned people not to waste hope the vaccines bring on complacency.

Covax’s global vaccine-sharing facility has shipped more than 20 million doses to 20 countries since the program, which aims to ensure poorer nations get access to bumps, launched this week.

However, the World Health Organization expressed fears that more waves of the coronavirus pandemic could be on the way if people believe the global roll out of vaccines will mark the end of the crisis.

“I’m really very concerned that … we think we can get through this. We’re not,” WHO Emergency Director Michael Ryan said at a press conference.

“And the countries will fall back into the third and fourth rises if we’re not careful.

“We shouldn’t waste the hope that vaccines bring … by dropping our guard in other areas.”

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the first full week of Covax’s rollout but said rich countries would still leave others behind in the onslaught of vaccinations.

Within Africa, Angola, DR Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda received their first doses through Covax.

Cambodia, Colombia, India, Moldova, the Philippines and South Korea have also accepted deliveries.

“Mass trauma”

“Over the next week, Covax will deliver 14.4 million doses to an additional 31 countries, bringing the total to 51 countries,” said Tedros.

“This is encouraging progress, but the volume of doses being distributed through Covax is still relatively small.”

He said the first round of allotments, which runs until the end of May, will only cover between two and three percent of the population in recipient states, “even if other countries make rapid progress in vaccinating their entire population in the next few months”.

He called for an urgent increase in vaccine production, including by connecting manufacturers with competing companies who have spare capacity.

Tedros also said the planet would feel the mental scars of the pandemic in the years to come and that the magnitude of its effects would be worse than it did during the recovery from World War II.

“The whole world is affected. Every individual. That means a mass trauma that is disproportionate. Even greater than what the world experienced after the Second World War,” he said.

“And if there is a mass trauma, it affects the communities for many years.”

“Countries need to see it as such and prepare for it.

“Mass, mass trauma.”

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© 2021 AFP

Quote: Don’t waste hope on vaccines, warns WHO (2021 March 5), accessed from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-03-dont-vaccines.html on March 5, 2021

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