Use Vaccines To Contain Deaths, Not Pandemic: WHO Expert

Use Vaccines To Contain Deaths, Not Pandemic: WHO Expert

May 26, 2021, 6:59 a.m.

David Nabarro, one of the special envoys on Covid-19 appointed by the WHO Director-General, the old-fashioned processes of early detection, timely isolation and effective contact tracing were still the best way to contain the spread of the pandemic.

A top expert at the World Health Organisation has urged countries not to use vaccinations as a means of containing the spread of the pandemic, and instead target them towards high-risk groups with the aim of preventing deaths.

David Nabarro, one of the special envoys on Covid-19 appointed by the WHO Director-General, the old-fashioned processes of early detection, timely isolation and effective contact tracing were still the best way to contain the spread of the pandemic.

“We won’t, as a world, be able to vaccinate ourselves out of this pandemic in a hurry. Everybody who is at risk should be able to be vaccinated. That is key. But the use of vaccines as the primary way to stop the pandemic will mean that certain countries will hyper-vaccinate their populations because they see this as the best containment strategy. But that’s not the way to use vaccines,” Nabarro said at a panel discussion on the need for uninterrupted health services for people suffering with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) during the pandemic.

Arguing that NCDs like diabetes and many others exacerbated the impacts of Covid19 in a patient, Nabarro said that people with NCDs were being “singled out by Covid” and they were likely to get severely ill and die.

“As a world we can prevent their suffering and death….Vaccines prevent death amongst the high-risk populations, particularly those with NCDs. We should be prioritizing vaccines for those who are at the risk of death and the process of dealing with the pandemic should be built around basic infection disease procedures”.

“(We need to build) a highly effective public health service that can detect people with the disease and isolate them before it is confirmed. And then the necessary contact tracing and quarantine processes that stops clusters from developing into spikes, spikes from developing into surges, and surges from becoming explosive outbreaks. There is only one way to deal with this pandemic. And that’s through the full involvement of the people. And, the widespread use of public health measures that relies on vaccinations to end the pandemic at this time is most unwise,” Nabarro said, adding that the pandemic was unlikely to get over anytime soon.

“This is not going to be a Covid-zero world for a very long time,” he said, and emphasized on the need for equity and fairness in deployment of vaccines.

Speaking at the same forum, India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said continuing to provide health services for NCDs during the pandemic was crucial for maintaining people’s trust in health systems and in minimizing morbidity and mortality from other health conditions.

“There is a silver lining as far as data on NCDs (in India) is concerned. While 70 per cent of global deaths are attributable to NCDs, in India this figure is estimated to be lower, around 63 per cent. We have been able to reduce premature NCD related mortalities from 503 to 490 per 100,000 population between 2015 and 2019,” Harsh Vardhan said.

Source: The Indian Express

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