WHO releases new COVID-19 vaccination plan

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The World Health Organization outlined a new strategy Oct. 7 to achieve 70 percent COVID-19 vaccination coverage in every country by mid-2022. 

By the end of 2021, the target is to reach 40 percent of every country's population, according to  the WHO's Strategy to Achieve Global COVID-19 Vaccination by mid-2022. 

The organization had previously set a target to vaccinate 10 percent of every country's population by the end of September, but 56 countries, mostly in Africa and the Middle East, did not reach that target. 

Nearly one-third of the world's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but "low-income countries have received less than half of one percent of the world's vaccines," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said during a news conference. "In Africa, less than 5 percent of people are fully vaccinated." 

About 75 percent of all vaccines produced so far have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries, according to the WHO.  

To achieve the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of every country's population by mid-2022, the WHO's strategy calls on countries with high vaccine coverage to fulfill their dose-sharing pledges. It also urges countries with high coverage to swap vaccine delivery schedules with COVAX — the WHO-backed initiative to improve equitable access to the vaccine — and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, among other measures. 

"By the end of September, almost [6.5] billion doses had already been administered worldwide. With global vaccine production now at nearly 1.5 billion doses per month, there is enough supply to achieve our targets, provided they are distributed equitably," Dr. Tedros said. 

 

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