COVID-19: WHO delivers 96m vaccine doses to 135 countries through COVAX
By Gistflash News
July 7, 2021
World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has delivered nearly 96 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 135 countries.
The organisation also said it delivered other essential health products through COVAX.
WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, disclosed this to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) High-Level Political Forum at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The forum which started on Tuesday will end on July 15.
It is expected to discuss ways to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will also focus on the lessons, successes, shortcomings and plans to come out from the health crisis.
Ghebreyesus said that the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered through COVAX was a peanut considering that a total of over three billion doses of the vaccines had so far been delivered.
“Vaccine inequities and vaccine nationalism are further deepening the divide between high and lower-income nations.
“Most lower-income countries still do not have enough vaccine to cover their most vulnerable and at-risk populations, let alone the rest of their populations.
“We are working day in and day out to turn things around; we are seeing encouraging signs, with commitments from vaccine producing countries to share hundreds of millions of doses.
“The World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and WHO are working together to accelerate access and delivery of vaccines and other COVID-19 health tools to developing countries,’’ he said.
According to him, if countries immediately share doses with COVAX and if manufacturers prioritise COVAX orders, at least 10 per cent of the population of every country can be vaccinated by September and 40 per cent by the end of 2021.
“Vaccine equity is the best way to control the pandemic and get economies opened and moving again.
“Over the longer-term, we also need to greatly expand and invest in local production so that the world will not be dependent upon just few countries to produce vaccines and other essential health products,’’ he said.
The director-general said the pandemic had shown that relying on few companies to supply global public goods was limiting and risky.
“WHO is calling for sharing of know-how, technology and licences, and the waiving of intellectual property rights.
“In May, the World Health Assembly adopted a landmark resolution on strengthening local production of medicines and other health technologies to improve access.
“Over 100 countries co-sponsored the resolution, clearly signalling their commitment to changing the paradigm and distributing production capacity more equitably,’’ he said.
According to him, WHO is working with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to establish a technology transfer hub, which would include mRNA technology.
He said the pandemic had shown that without local health security, there could be no global health security.
“That is why the SDGs – which address an array of interlinked essential targets – are so important.
“The pandemic has set us back even further. We now expect a shortfall of 710 million people to a billion more people covered by universal health coverage by 2023.
“Strengthening health systems, particularly through primary health care, is essential for equitable and resilient recovery, “the director-general said.
He said the pandemic had revealed at the global level, a profound gap, a deficit of solidarity and sharing – sharing information, resources, technology and tools that every nation would need to keep its people safe.
“We have to learn the lessons of COVID-19. As we respond to this pandemic, we have to prepare for the next one.
“At the recent World Health Assembly, WHO member-states agreed to consider the proposal for a pandemic treaty.
“WHO believes such a treaty can provide the basis for improved preparedness, detection and response, and improved cooperation to identify the origins of new pathogens.’’
Ghebreyesus said a treaty would foster improved sharing, trust and accountability, and help to strengthen national, regional and global capacities for global health security.
He suggested three priorities for countries to achieve universal health coverage by 2023.
The director-general said countries would need to urgently share COVID-19 vaccine doses with COVAX.
“We need additional 250 million doses by September and one billion by the end of the year.
“We also need to provide financing for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator so that countries can receive the diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics – including oxygen – that they need.
“Second, countries need to share their mRNA COVID-19 vaccines technologies and know-how with the WHO technology transfer hub and the COVAX Manufacturing Task Force, so that countries with manufacturing capacity can get to work.
“Third, I ask countries, along with our multilateral partners, to support the proposal for a pandemic treaty.
“It is time to move beyond the cycle of panic and neglect that marked global emergency response for decades.
“At the core of all of our efforts must be universal health coverage based on strong primary health care, which is the cornerstone of social, economic and political stability,’’ he said.
According to him, the pandemic has highlighted that health is not a product of strong and prosperous nations.
Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits Greek island of Crete
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
A magnitude 5.8 strong quake hit Greece’s Crete island on Monday, according to the Geodynamics Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.
The tremor’s epicentre was located at a depth of 10 km, some 25 km south of the city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete island, while aftershocks up to 4.3 magnitude have followed, according to Greek scientists.
Material damage has been reported, with no injuries until now, local officials told Greek national news agency AMNA.
Earlier, the Euro Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the quake’s magnitude at 6.2, which was later revised to 6.0.
WHO investigators seeking COVID-19 origin going back to China
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19, months after an earlier probe ended without drawing firm conclusions, according to a report published.
WHO was putting together a team of some 20 scientists, who will be charged with finding new evidence in China and other locales, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group will examine whether the virus emerged from a laboratory, a theory that has been angrily rejected by China.
In December 2020, WHO investigators began visits to Wuhan, China, where the first known outbreak of the virus took place.
But their March 2021 report said they had gotten insufficient information from Chinese scientists to answer key questions about COVID-19’s origin.
In August, U.S. intelligence agencies issued a separate report saying they also could not make firm conclusions about COVID-19’s origins.
Florida Gov. appoints Nigerian-American, Joseph Ladapo Surgeon-General
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, U.S. has appointed a Nigerian-American, Dr Joseph Ladapo, as Florida Surgeon-General and Secretary of the Department of Health.
DeSantis in a statement posted on the Florida Department of Health website, stated that he was pleased to announce Ladapo for the position.
“I am pleased to announce that Ladapo will lead the Florida department of health as our state’s next surgeon-general
“Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, with a superb background.”
According to him, Ladapo has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research.
The governor said: ” Ladapo will bring great leadership to the department of health, ” thanking both Dr Scott Rivkees and Dr Shamarial Roberson for their hard work on behalf of all Floridians.
Lieutenant-Governor, Jeanette Nuñez described Ladapo’s as, “an excellent choice to serve as our next surgeon general.
“Ladapo has impeccable credentials and a strong vision to effectively serve the people of Florida at the helm of our public health agency.
“Through his service to our state, we will continue Florida’s work to advance our public health goals,” Nuñez said.
Ladapo said he is honored to have been chosen by DeSantis to serve as Florida’s next surgeon-general.
“We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear.
“From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by DeSantis’ leadership and determination,” he said.
The new surgeon-general said he was impressed by DeSantis’ leadership to ensure that Floridians were afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans.
“It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida,” he said.
Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine.
Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),caring for hospitalised patients.
He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, who also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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