A senior member of the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was more important to vaccinate people in developing countries now than to provide boosters for everyone in Ireland.
‘WHO Special Envoy for Covid-19 Dr David Nabarro has said that vaccinating people in developing countries will save more lives in the long term, as it will reduce the risk of developing new variants of Covid -19.
“A new variant can come from anywhere and the best way to reduce the risk of these variants is to distribute the vaccine widely,” he told RTÃ’s News.
Dr Nabarro said he understands why countries – including Ireland – want to increase their populations, but argued that more lives can be saved by sharing vaccines with poorer countries.
“Which is better, give everyone a thumbs up now or maybe wait a few months until we are successful in distributing basic supplies for health workers and the elderly in poor countries. , then boost Ireland, UK and Europe in a couple of months?
âQuite frankly, I think many, many more lives will be saved if we can just delay in the advanced countries a bit, so that the developing countries can catch up. This is best for the whole world, âhe added.
He said that individual countries such as Ireland have made a substantial effort to share vaccines, but “we have not done well as a world in properly sharing vaccines.”
Regarding the Omicron variant – which Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says is’ probably ‘present in Ireland now – Dr Nabarro reassured the Irish public that the new variant’ came as no surprise And “we know what needs to be done”.
“Yes, we are worried but this is what we expected, and we know how countries could organize themselves to best deal with this threat,” he said.
Dr Nabarro explained that the latest variant spreads similarly to the Wuhan and Delta viruses and said basic public health measures can be used to deal with it.
He said wearing a mask, social distancing and proper ventilation can protect people even though the Omicron variant can “break through” vaccines.
âIf Omicron can break through the vaccine protection we’ve all become accustomed to over the past few months, that adds to the challenges, but it doesn’t take away from the basic face mask and distancing approach, which has been at the heart of our prevention strategy, âhe added.
Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the vaccination program rollout and the Ireland coronavirus case rate