Beijing [China], May 18 (ANI): Chinese infectious disease specialist has warned that slow global COVID-19 vaccine roll-out risks allowing new variants to emerge as the world continues to combat the pandemic.
"Most of the world has not yet been vaccinated. Even in countries with abundant supplies, the vaccination rate might hardly reach herd immunity level that can effectively block transmission," South China Morning Post (SCMP) quoted Zhang Wenhong, the head of Shanghai's COVID-19 clinical team, as saying on Sunday.
Fresh COVID-19 outbreaks show the virus will spread once the world is less vigilant about the pandemic, while slow global vaccine roll-outs risk more variants emerging, Wenhong warned.
"Vaccine roll-out is not fast enough and the possibility of the virus mutating and escaping [protection from the vaccines] is increasing."
On Monday, highlighting the gap of vaccinations between high-income countries and low and lower-middle countries, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said that the world is at risk of 'vaccine apartheid'.
"As you know, high-income countries account for 15 per cent of the world's population, but have 45 per cent of the world's vaccines. Low- and lower-middle countries account for almost half of the world's population, but have received just 17 per cent of the world's vaccines. So the gap is really huge," he stated.
The WHO chief further highlighted that at least 63 million doses of vaccines have been shipped to 124 countries and economies, but they represent just 0.5 per cent of the combined population of those nations.
He also noted that the basic problem of vaccine inequity was a lack of sharing, which could be resolved by sharing financial resources to fully fund the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, sharing doses with COVAX and sharing technology to scale up the manufacturing of vaccines. (ANI)