On Wednesday, Dec. 29, the WHO announced that 70% of the global population should be vaccinated by the beginning of July 2022. It was announced by General Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He appealed to countries and set a mid-year deadline.
"I want governments, industry, and civil society to work with us on a campaign that aims for 70 percent vaccine coverage in all countries by this date," the WHO director said.
Specifically, he referred "to leaders of rich countries" and manufacturers "to learn the lessons of alpha, beta, gamma, delta and now Omicron" and work together to achieve such a goal.
"This is the time to overcome short-term nationalism and protect populations and economies against future variants by ending global vaccine inequality," said Ghebreyesus
He also lamented that the WHO's proposed target of reaching 40% of the world's population vaccinated by the end of 2021 was not been met.
New treatments and more vaccines
"Ending health inequity remains the key to ending the pandemic," the director argued during his speech and warned that it is possible for new variants to evade measures and become fully resistant to current vaccines or to previous infection antibodies.
"Any new vaccine update potentially means a new supply shortage, so it is important that we focus on increasing the supply of locally manufactured supply to help end this pandemic and prepare for future ones," he said.
Likewise, Ghebreyesus also underpinned his goal of ensuring that new treatments to tackle COVID-19 "are available in all countries" by 2022. "And to ensure that people are put on treatment at the optimal time, we need to get testing everywhere," he said.
All in all, the WHO director general was optimistic that 2022 "could be the year when we not only end the acute stage of the pandemic, but also chart a path towards stronger health security."