26 July 2022 | News
Healthcare workers, over 60s and other at-risk groups must be reached as priorities on the way to reaching the 70% coverage target
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published an update to the Global COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, in response to the spread of Omicron subvariants, advances in vaccine evidence, and lessons from the global vaccination program.
In the first year of rollouts, COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have saved 19.8 million lives. Through unprecedently large and rapid rollouts worldwide, over 12 billion doses have been administered globally, in nearly every country in the world, resulting in countries reaching 60% of their populations on average.
Yet only 28% of older populations and 37% of health care workers in low-income countries have been vaccinated with their primary series. 27 of WHO's Member States have not yet started a booster or additional dose program, 11 of which are low-income countries.
The strategy aims to use primary and booster doses to reduce deaths and severe disease, in order to protect health systems, societies and economies. On the way to reaching the 70% vaccination target, countries should prioritize achieving the underpinning targets of vaccinating 100% of health care workers and 100% of the most vulnerable groups, including older populations (over 60s) and those who are immunocompromised or have underlying conditions.
The strategy also has the goal of accelerating development and ensuring equitable access to improved vaccines to substantially reduce transmission as the top priority but also to achieve durable, broadly protective immunity.