In light of the spread of the highly infectious omicron variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on the international community to make every effort to ensure that all countries can immunize their populations against COVID-19, the UN press office said.
The leading epidemiologist of WHO, Maria van Kerkhove, once again recalled that against the background of the rapid spread of the omicron, states will not be able to defeat the pandemic with the help of boosters – additional vaccinations.
“Intensive communication, limited use of proven measures and limited vaccination coverage – these conditions will ensure the prosperity of any strain, any virus,” said van Kerkhove in an interview with the British media company BBC.
Even before the start of the holidays, omicron was identified in 128 countries around the world. There is no convincing evidence that when infected with a new strain, the disease proceeds in a milder form than when infected with previous variants, WHO epidemiologist Abdi Mahamud said at a briefing in Geneva.
At the same time, Mahamud noted that in London, which was swept by a new wave of COVID-19, hospitalization rates were 20 percent lower than during previous outbreaks.
“This means that if you are vaccinated, you are protected, but if you are at risk and also not vaccinated, the omicron is dangerous for you,” he added.
“The challenge is getting the world’s most vulnerable people vaccinated,” Mahamud said, reiterating WHO’s call to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the world’s population.
“Without such protection, the virus multiplies freely, especially in crowded places and in poorly ventilated rooms,” the organization’s representative warned, recalling that scientists have observed this situation with other variants of the coronavirus.