At a time when many countries across the globe have relaxed their COVID-19 control measures, the World Health Organisation (WHO) still urges full vaccination of populations for the pandemic to be fully brought under control.
This follows over 9,400 COVID-19 deaths which were reported to the global health authority last week.
“WHO continues to urge caution, and we continue to urge everyone to be fully vaccinated – including getting your next dose if it’s due,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while briefing the media Wednesday.
“We have come a long way, and this is definitely a cause for optimism, but we continue to call on all governments, communities, and individuals to remain vigilant.”
The WHO chief expressed concern that almost 10,000 deaths a week is too many, for a disease that can be prevented and treated.
“Testing and sequencing rates remain low globally, vaccination gaps remain wide, and the continued proliferation of new variants remains concerning,” he decried.
Meanwhile, the number of weekly cases of monkeypox reported to WHO has declined 80% from the peak in August, although there was a small rise last week, with 19 countries reporting an increase.
“This week, WHO signed an agreement with SIGA Technologies, the developer of the antiviral tecovirimat, also known as TPOXX, for a donation of 2,500 treatment courses,” said Ghebreyesus.
“In the coming days, WHO will invite low- and middle-income countries to express interest in receiving tecovirimat free of charge. While this treatment is not approved in most countries, WHO has published a protocol that researchers can use to design and conduct clinical trials of this and other medicines.
He added: “In situations where trials are not in place, WHO recommends that tecovirimat be considered for use under a different protocol to promote the collection of data on the drug’s effectiveness.”