World Health Organization Director-General: Lessons from 2021

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, held the last press conference of the year at WHO headquarters in Geneva.

At the meeting, which was held in the form of a video conference, Ghebreyesus said: “The year 2021 was the year in which 3.5 million people lost their lives due to the Coronavirus.

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This is more than the total number of deaths from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in 2020.”

Ghebreyesus emphasized that the world should learn from its experience with the pandemic this year:

“2021 has been a painful year for many of us, but we cannot let 2022 be a lost year.

As a new year approaches, we must all learn the painful lessons this year has taught us, and this must be the end of the 2022 epidemic.

But it is also the end of something else for the coming of a new year, it must also be the beginning of an era of solidarity, and as we leave 2021 sadly behind, we must look forward to 2022 with hope.”

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Noting that only half of the WHO’s 194 member states have achieved the goal of vaccinating 40 percent of their population by the end of 2021, Ghebreyesus reiterated his call to end the injustice of vaccines.

Today, he said, 800 million doses of the vaccine have been shipped to countries in need through the Global Vaccine Access Program (COVAX), and half of those doses have been sent in the past three months.

Also, Maria Van Kerkhove, the leader of the World Health Organization’s team to combat the Coronavirus, confirmed that they do not have enough data yet to say whether this alternative is more dangerous than Delta, regarding questions about Omicron.

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However, Kerkhove stated that he has some data showing that those who carry the Omicron virus have a lower rate of hospitalization.