WHO calls for health worker protection against COVID-19
At a media briefing today, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an urgent call to protect healthcare workers against COVID-19 and other health threats based on new data. He also pressed nations and pharmaceutical companies for more access to COVID-19 vaccine supplies.
Health worker vaccination lags in poorer nations
The call for better protection for health workers comes in the wake of data from a new WHO working paper that estimates 80,000 to 180,000 health workers died from COVID-19 in the first 17 months of the pandemic. The WHO-ledurgent call for actionwas also backed by partner groups, such as the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, the International Council of Nurses, and the World Medical Association.
At today’sbriefing, Tedros said the estimate shows why health workers are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination.
He added that while data from 119 countries shows two in five healthcare workers are fully vaccinated, the average masks a wide difference across regions and economic groups. In Africa, for example, less than 1 in 10 health workers are fully vaccinated, compare to 80% vaccination among their peers in high-income countries, Tedros said.