A House of Commons committee was warned today that disruptive new variants of COVID-19 will continue to emerge every few months unless the low vaccination rate rises in poorer countries.
The message was delivered to the Commons foreign affairs committee by the head of GAVI, the international organization leading the distribution of vaccines to the developing world, and a senior United Nations Children’s Agency official.
Seth Berkley, the head of GAVI, says while countries such as a Canada are offering fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines with vaccination rates above 80 per cent of its population, the global rate is just 59 per cent.
He says in the poorest 18 countries less than 10 per cent of people are fully vaccinated.
Berkley says with 2.7 billion people unvaccinated around the world COVID-19 has ample space to mutate into new variants, including the recent Omicron strain, which is sickening triple-vaccinated people in the developed world.
Lily Caprani, the head of global health, vaccines and pandemic response for UNICEF, says children are the hidden victims of the pandemic because they have suffered through school closures, lack of access to maternal and newborn health care and a decline in other immunizations that has led to the re-emergence of measles and polio.
—The Canadian Press