His New Year's resolution is simple: "We must end the pandemic."
Although 2021 is coming to an end in the middle of a COVID-19 surge, that doesn’t mean we should give up hope on finally bidding farewell to the pandemic in 2022.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, just released his end-of-year statement, and he was cautiously optimistic that the world can knock out COVID by this time next year.
Although we now have vaccines and new treatments for COVID-19 that have saved millions of lives, he says the key to getting back to everyday life is sharing those breakthroughs with everyone.
“As we enter the third year of this pandemic, I’m confident that this will be the the year we end it — but only if we do it together,” he said.
Dr Tedros says we won’t be able to leave the pandemic behind us until we can distribute vaccines to the countries that still need them the most, rather than allowing some countries to hoard them.
He also blames the emergence of the Omicron variant on inequity created by “narrow nationalism and vaccine hoarding by some countries.”
“The longer inequity continues, the higher the risks of this virus evolving in ways we can’t prevent or predict,” Dr. Tedros said. “If we end inequity, we end the pandemic.”
The WHO and its partners are working hard to make sure vaccines become readily available to people worldwide with initiatives like COVAX, which will accelerate the production and equal distribution of vaccines.
Dr. Tedros says that to end the pandemic, the global vaccination rate needs to reach 70% by mid-2022.
In addition to accelerating the vaccination rate, measures like widespread testing and reporting new variants when they come up need to be maintained for the pandemic to end, he said.
He added that individuals can help by wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and socializing outside or in well-ventilated areas when possible.
"We must end the pandemic," he said. "COVID-19 has demonstrated that when health is at risk, everything is at risk."
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
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