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WHO to determine if Monkeypox is an emergency of global concern
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 06 - 2022

WHO underlined the importance of vaccination programs being supported by comprehensive surveillance and contact tracing, and accompanied by information campaigns and robust "pharmacovigilance", ideally with collaborative studies on vaccine efficacy.
Tedros also said the agency was working with partners on renaming Monkeypox and its variants, and also to put in place a mechanism to help share available vaccines, more equitably, as the need arises.
Regarding the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, Tedros said that both reported cases and deaths have decreased by more than 90 per cent, from the highs reached earlier this year.
"This is a very welcome trend. Still, more than 3 million cases were reported to WHO last week – and because many countries have reduced surveillance and testing, we know this number is under-reported", he added.
In that period, 8,737 deaths were reported. Tedros called this an "unacceptable level" when they are effective tools to prevent, detect and treat this disease.
The WHO chief also called on countries to reach an agreement on the temporary exemption of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests during this week's World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference.
"As I have said many times, the waiver was created for use in emergencies. So, if not now, then when?" he said.
This request was echoed by the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, E. Tendayi Achiume, who called growing inequalities in access to immunizations a form of "vaccine apartheid".
"Given that those most harmed by vaccine apartheid are racially marginalized peoples, unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments within and between nations is undeniably a matter of racial injustice," she said.
"This injustice is compounded by persistent inequality of wealth, power and health resources between states, which can be traced back to transnational histories of racism and colonialism", she added.
Up to this month, 72.09% of people in high-income countries had been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, she noted, compared to only 17.94% of people in low-income countries: "The current status quo amounts to a system of "vaccine apartheid."
In her letter to World Trade Organization members, the independent expert urged State representatives at this week's Ministerial Conference to honour commitments and legal obligations for equality and non-discrimination enshrined in international human rights law.
"States must demonstrate the political will, leadership and firm commitment to racial equality that transformative change requires," Achiume said. — UN News

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