World, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Experts evaluate vaccine, health efforts at TRT forum

WHO director-general warns casualty tally may rise unless low, mid-income countries receive vaccines

Omer Faruk Yildiz, Murat Ozgur Guvendik   | 02.12.2020
Experts evaluate vaccine, health efforts at TRT forum

ANKARA 

The top official of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that low and middle-income countries would continue to suffer under the novel coronavirus pandemic unless they received vaccines. 

Speaking at the 4th TRT World Forum 2020, which is being held online this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus joined a session on common solutions against global healthcare issues amid the pandemic.

Ghebreyesus said the virus outbreak deeply affected the political, economic and social foundations of the global structure, and that the fight against the virus and efforts to find a vaccine had become one of the world's top agenda items, along with sustainability with the international healthcare systems.

The WHO official went on to say that delivering COVID-19 vaccines fairly would be important and that access to vaccines walked hand-to-hand with countries' national interests. He added that more people could be infected and die of the virus in low and middle-income countries if they did not have access to a vaccine.

Stressing that countries should not compete for vaccines, he added that pursuing a nationalist agenda would weaken the fight against the outbreak.

Also speaking at the virtual event, Dr. Mehmet Oz said corona-type viruses triggered a difficult period for healthcare professionals and the US public failed to grasp the gravity of the outbreak, leading to a serious buildup in case numbers.

Oz said that travel had been one of the main reasons behind the outbreak's escalation and that easing strict measures accelerated its spread, citing the reopening of schools in some US states as the cause of rising infections in children.

On vaccine efforts, Dr. Oz said some "promising" vaccines were developed in Russia, China, the UK and the US, and that these offered 90% efficiency and would lead to herd immunity, but nobody was safe without fully eradicating the virus threat.

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