The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has warned in a statement that the global COVID vaccination rate “must increase rapidly and protection measures upheld, if we are to win the race against more transmissible, and potentially more deadly, variants.” 

“At least three quarters of people in most countries want to be vaccinated worldwide, in the face of emerging new variants, according to new survey data,” IFRC said. “However, despite lofty rhetoric about global solidarity, there is a deadly gap in the global plan to equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines. Only around a quarter of the world’s population have received at least one dose of the vaccine. This number drops dramatically in low-income countries, where only 1% of people have received one dose.  And some countries are yet to start mass vaccination campaigns.”  

A group of human rights advocates is calling for humanitarian aid for Myanmar’s “crippling COVID-19 crisis.”

Myanmar

The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar said in a statement that the country is experiencing “a massive third wave of COVID-19″ and is “in urgent need of help.”  It called on the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and “other actors” to deliver assistance “directly to the people now.”

Yanghee Lee, of the advisory council, in a statement, accused the country’s junta of “weaponising COVID-19 for its own political gain by suffocating the democracy movement and seeking to gain the legitimacy and control it craves – and has so far been denied – by deliberately fueling a humanitarian disaster and then co-opting the international response.”  

Millions of children did not receive their basic vaccinations last year as the world sought to bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control, leaving the youngsters vulnerable to preventable diseases like polio and measles.

The World Health Organization said in a recent statement that “23 million children missed out on basic vaccines through routine immunization services in 2020 – 3.7 million more than in 2019.”

Up to 17 million children, the WHO said, “likely did not receive a single vaccine during the year, widening already immense inequities in vaccine access.”

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Multiple disease outbreaks would be catastrophic for communities and health systems already battling COVID-19, making it more urgent than ever to invest in childhood vaccination and ensure every child is reached.”

“This is a wake-up call,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  “We cannot allow a legacy of COVID-19 to be the resurgence of measles, polio and other killers.” 

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Friday that there are more than 189 million global COVID cases. Worldwide more than 4 million people have died from COVID-19.  

More than 3.5 billion vaccines have been administered, according to Johns Hopkins.

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