A leading coronavirus expert has warned there needs to be an urgency to vaccinate those in countries with limited or no supply to the vaccine to prevent a wave of mutant strains.
Dean of the School of Health at Brown University Dr Ashish Jha says the vaccine needs to be rolled out globally as a quickly as possible to “put this nightmare pandemic behind us”.
Taking to his Twitter account, Dr Jha said a rise of infections in underprivileged nations could lead to a surge in variants making current vaccines redundant.
“We could see rise of variants that can infect, cause outbreaks here and other vaccinated places, requiring us to update our vaccines and vaccinate everyone again,” he said.
“It’s the nightmare scenario of a never-ending pandemic.”
There is only one solution to put this nightmare pandemic behind us
Get outbreaks under control everywhere
Put in place virus control policies, get people to wear high quality masks, have more testing
Vaccinate the world
As quickly as possible
— Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH (@ashishkjha) January 29, 2021
He branded calls for natural herd immunity as “so naive” and said without a vaccine that is not an effective method for moving forward.
“[Herd immunity advocates] literally advocated for virus to have more chances to mutate,” Dr Jha said.
In an interview with WebMD, Dr Jha said we need to be vaccinating people “as quickly as possible”.
“It’s probably our single most valuable tool in the short run.”
In Australia, the federal government have taken a less urgent approach to the vaccine rollout compared to nations like the US and the UK due to the low levels of infection in the community.
However, with mounting pressure from some experts amid a rise in virus leaks from hotel quarantine programs across the country, there is more potency now with the vaccine rollout which has been edged foward from initial plans and will now be rolled out at the end of this month.
Reminder to avoid ‘vaccine nationalism’
World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly warned countries to avoid “vaccine nationalism” and stockpiling jabs for themselves.
It comes as the EU was forced to backtrack on plans to place a limit on vaccine exports to the UK as European nations fell behind many first world countries in their vaccine rollout.
“The world is watching and it is only through international collaboration that we will beat this pandemic,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
In its bid to assist the global vaccination plan, Australia will provide $35.7 million to help vaccinate at least 1.5 million Cambodians against Covid-19.
The assistance package would significantly bolster Cambodian efforts in vaccinating 80 per cent of its 16 million people against the virus as soon as practicable, the Australian embassy and the Cambodian government announced on Monday.
"In recognition that nobody is safe until everyone is safe, our support is likely to help vaccinate at least 1.5 million Cambodians and will go a long way towards supporting widespread access to WHO-approved vaccines in Cambodia," Australian ambassador Pablo Kang said.
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