Before the world was vaccinated, the new Covid variant was a danger

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On April 26, 2021, people wearing protective masks wait for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination at a vaccination center in Mumbai, India.

Niharika Kurkani Reuters

LONDON – Experts warn that new Covid-19 variants may continue to appear before the world is vaccinated against the virus, saying that sharing vaccines is not only a selfless act, but also a pragmatic act.

“Before the entire world is vaccinated, not just wealthy Western countries, I think we will continue to face the danger of new variants, some of which may be more toxic than omicron,” Dr. Andrew Friedman, an infectious disease reader in Cardiff The university medical school told CNBC on Thursday.

Friedman pointed out that viruses “tend to become milder” as they evolve, but he warns that “this is not always the case.”

“It is likely that they will be more contagious in future variants, and they may be milder, but we can’t say for sure.”

According to our data world, so far, 58.6% of the global population has received at least one dose of Covid vaccine, and 9.28 billion doses have been vaccinated globally.

Now, in wealthy countries such as Europe or the United States, which are dominated by the West, most of the adult population is vaccinated against Covid, and in many of these countries/regions, the vaccine is being introduced to young adolescents and even young children.

But our data world shows that in low-income countries, only 8.5% of people have at least one dose of the vaccine.

“Global Escape Strategy”

Since the launch of the vaccine, the World Health Organization has repeatedly urged wealthy countries to donate excess vaccine to the Covax program, an international program designed to ensure more equitable access to vaccines around the world.

The WHO and other experts often hear the mantra “No one is safe unless everyone is safe”. They say that unless everyone is protected, the pandemic will not end.

Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told CNBC earlier this week: “I can’t fully emphasize that this logic is inescapable.”

“This is not altruism or aid or anything else. It is a global escape strategy for our common suffering. Unless we can share vaccines and produce enough vaccines for everyone, the next variant is at hand.”

The Covid vaccine has been shown to significantly protect people from serious infections, hospitalizations and deaths, so in addition to wider vaccination coverage that may save millions of lives, it may also help prevent new mutations: Large numbers of unvaccinated people allow the virus to spread significantly more easily and mutate in doing so.

Gavi, the vaccine consortium that is part of the Covax program, stated that the program “is necessary because without it, most people in the world will face a real risk of being unable to defend against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19). This will make the virus and its The impact continues unabated.”

Like all viruses, the coronavirus, which first appeared in China at the end of 2019, continued to mutate and evolve throughout the pandemic. Certain mutations have been shown to be more effective in making the virus spread. Variants such as the “alpha” strain, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom in September 2020 and named by the World Health Organization, have spread all over the world, replacing previous strains.

Then, the “delta” variant discovered in India in October 2020 replaced the alpha variant, and now we are competing with “omicron”: a variant that is more spread than delta, but reportedly, this strain seems to cause less severe disease . Since omicron first appeared in Southern Africa in November 2021, more and more research has been conducted in a short period of time.

Mandatory vaccination?

Some countries and others are considering whether to compulsory vaccination, but this raises difficult ethical dilemmas, such as whether it is ethical to vaccinate young children (fortunately, they are rarely severely affected by Covid disease) to protect the elderly , More disadvantaged citizens.

There is also no Covid vaccine that is 100% effective. People who are vaccinated can still get the infection and pass the infection to others, although vaccination will reduce this risk.

Nevertheless, more and more countries have or will compulsory vaccination against Covid for certain workers (such as health care and nursing home workers), while others have compulsory vaccination for certain age groups considered to be at higher risk; Greece Vaccination is compulsory for people over 60 years old, while Italy on Wednesday stipulated compulsory vaccination for people over 50 years old. Needless to say, mandatory injection is a controversial topic and has caused protests in several quarters.

Friedman said it is better to encourage and educate people to get vaccinated than mandatory injections, but still “it is advisable to get as many people as possible to get vaccinated.”

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