The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus has expressed optimism that the COVID-19 pandemic will end in 2022. Ghebreyesus said this at a press briefing on Wednesday, noting that the pandemic emerged on Christmas Eve of 2019, recording 1.8 million deaths in 2020 and 3.5 million in 2021 with millions of people dealing with long-term consequences from the virus. He described the consequences of the recent increase rate of the Omicron and Delta variant at the same time as "a tsunami of cases".
In 2020 during the G7 and G20 meetings, the WHO challenged world leaders to vaccinate 40 percent of their populations by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by the mid-2022, and only 92 out of 194 member states have met the vaccination target.
The DG attributed low vaccination by poorer countries to the late arrival of vaccines with key parts missing like syringes.
“Forty per cent was doable. It’s not only a moral shame, it cost lives and provided the virus with opportunities to circulate unchecked and mutate,” he said.
Ghebreyesus urged wealthy countries to work together to reach the 70 percent target by July 2022.
“This is the time to rise above short-term nationalism and protect populations and economies against future variants by ending global vaccine inequity.
“We have 185 days to the finish line of achieving 70 per cent by the start of July 2022. And the clock starts now,” he said.