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At least 115,000 health professionals died from Covid-19

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, credit WHO

At least 115,000 health workers have died as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, lamenting that a small group of countries are hoarding vaccines.

“Many people have been infected themselves and, although reports are rare, we estimate that at least 115,000 health and care professionals have paid the ultimate price in the service of others,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at the opening of the organisation’s annual membership meeting.

He once again denounced the “scandalous inequality” of access to vaccines in the world, which he said “perpetuates the pandemic.”

Dr Tedros said more than 75% of all vaccines have been administered in just 10 countries.

“There is no diplomatic way to put it: a small group of countries that manufacture and buy the majority of vaccines (…) control the fate of the rest of the world,” Dr Tedros said.

“The number of doses administered worldwide so far would have been sufficient to cover all health workers and the elderly, if they had been distributed equitably,” he said.

The WHO Director-General called on the international community to reverse the trend, as he has been doing for months now.

“Today, I call on Member States to support a massive immunisation campaign of at least 10% of the population in each country by September, and a campaign through December to reach our target of at least 30% immunisation by the end of the year,” he said.

WHO, along with many other partners, created a global mechanism called Covax in order to supply vaccines to poor countries, but the organisation says this mechanism is running out of vaccines because rich countries, anxious to vaccinate their entire population, have been hoarding the doses.

India, where the majority of Covax vaccines come from, has blocked their export in order to vaccinate its own population while the country is ravaged by the virus.

Since the start of the pandemic, 24,842 people have died from the coronavirus in Belgium. It is unknown exactly how many of those deaths were of healthcare personnel.

The Brussels Times