Vaccines will not keep people safe; basic health measures remain 'foundation' of response - WHO
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Vaccines will not keep people safe; basic health measures remain ‘foundation’ of response – WHO

Vaccines will not keep people safe; basic health measures remain ‘foundation’ of response – WHO

For individuals, health measures mean avoiding crowds, physical distancing, hand hygiene, masks and ventilation

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged all governments and individuals that vaccines alone will not keep them ‘safe’ and that basic public health measures remain the basis of the response.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said: ”Vaccines will help to save lives, but if countries rely solely on vaccines, they’re making a mistake. Basic public health measures remain the foundation of the response.”

For public health authorities, that means testing, contact tracing, isolation, supported quarantine and quality care, while for individuals, it means avoiding crowds, physical distancing, hand hygiene, masks and ventilation, official news agency WAM reported.

”This is a global crisis that requires a consistent and coordinated global response,” he added.

In the past week, he noted, the number of reported cases of Covid-19 increased for the first time in seven weeks. ”Reported cases increased in four of WHO’s six regions: the Americas, Europe, South East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean – so we don’t report increases in Africa and the Western Pacific.

”We’re working to better understand these increases in transmission. Some of it appears to be due to relaxing of public health measures, continued circulation of variants, and people letting down their guard,” he added.

Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire started vaccinating health workers against Covid-19, becoming the first countries to start vaccination campaigns with doses supplied through COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

”A further 11 million doses will be delivered this week. Between now and the end of May, 237 million doses of vaccines will be allocated to 142 participating economies and countries in COVAX,” he said.

UAE’s Emirates SkyCargo and Etihad Cargo have signed separate agreements with UNICEF to prioritise the transport of Covid-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices and other critical supplies to help fight the pandemic.

The UNICEF drive convenes a number of partners capable of distributing essential supplies to more than 100 markets in support of the COVAX Facility, the global effort aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Read: Emirates, Etihad ink agreements with UNICEF for transportation of Covid-19 vaccines

In January 2021, Emirates SkyCargo joined hands with three other Dubai-based entities- DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports to form an alliance for the rapid transport of Covid-19 vaccines to the developing world through the emirate.

Read more: Dubai launches logistics alliance to distribute 2 billion Covid-19 vaccine shots in 2021

The UAE has administered a total of 6,028,417 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine till March 1.

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