The PRWorks team aims to help in spreading reliable information about Covid-19 and the vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO). Bookmark this post because we will update this regularly.
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From WHO media updates (May 10, 2021)
- Globally, we now see a plateau in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. We note declines in most regions including the Americas and Europe, the two worst-affected regions. But it’s an unacceptably high plateau, with more than 5.4 million reported cases and almost 90 thousand deaths last week.
- Any decline is welcome. But cases and deaths still happen increasing rapidly in WHO’s South-East Asia region. Some countries in every region have increasing trends.
- On May 10, 2021, the WHO Foundation launched the “Together for India” appeal to raise funds to support WHO’s work in India and buy oxygen, personal protective equipment, and medicines.
- High- and upper-middle-income countries represent 53% of the world’s population but have received 83% of the world’s vaccines. By contrast, low- and lower-middle-income countries account for 47% of the world’s population, but have received just 17% of the world’s vaccines.
- “All viruses – including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 – evolve over time. When a virus replicates or makes copies of itself, it sometimes changes a little bit. This is normal for a virus. These changes are called ‘mutations.’ A virus with one or more new mutations is referred to as a ‘variant’ of the original virus.”
- The possibility of a virus mutating increases when it “is widely circulating in a population and causing many infections. The more opportunities a virus has to spread, the more it replicates. This means more opportunities it has to undergo changes.”
New variants of COVID-19 & vaccines
- Changes or mutations in the virus should not make vaccines completely ineffective. In the event that any of these vaccines prove to be less effective against one or more variants, it will be possible to change the composition of the vaccines to protect against these variants.
- WHO continues to collect and analyze new variants of the COVID-19 virus. WHO works with researchers, health officials, and scientists to understand how these variants affect the virus’s behavior.
- We need to do everything possible to stop the spread of the virus in order to prevent mutations that may reduce the efficacy of existing vaccines.
How can we prevent future new variants?
- Stopping the spread at the source remains key. Current measures to reduce transmission – including frequent hand washing, wearing a mask, physical distancing, good ventilation, and avoiding crowded places or closed settings – continue to work against new variants by reducing the amount of viral transmission and therefore also reducing opportunities for the virus to mutate.
- WHO points to the need to scale up vaccine manufacturing and rolling out vaccines as quickly and widely as possible. These will be critical to protecting people before they are exposed to the virus and the risk of new variants. Priority should be given to vaccinating high-risk groups everywhere to maximize global protection against new variants and minimize the risk of transmission.
- Moreover, ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is more critical than ever to address the evolving pandemic. As more people get vaccinated, we expect virus circulation to decrease, which will then lead to fewer mutations.
WHO media assets and information on COVID-19