ICRC warns of difficulties in accessing coronavirus vaccines in conflict zones

The International Committee of the Red Cross (CIRC) denounced this Wednesday the lack of access to vaccines against the coronavirus for those who live in conflict zones and urged “not to forget” the situation that these populations are going through.

In a statement, the agency warned that these people run the risk of being “the last in the world to access these vaccines” and noted that “More than half of the 25 countries with the lowest vaccination rates are currently immersed in armed conflict or other situations of violence.”

On the eve of the next meeting of the World Health Assembly, the CIRC spoke about the situation of the millions of people who are still at risk of contracting covid-19 and who have not received a single dose.

“Two years have passed since the pandemic began, but fatigue cannot hide from us that it is not over yet and that the possible new, potentially lethal variants of the virus continue to be a real threat to our normality and, above all, for human life”, said the head of the Covid-19 Crisis Management team of that organization, Sophie Sutrich.

“The omicron variant is a clear example of what can happen when a large number of people are not vaccinated: the virus reproduces and variants may appear that the vaccines do not cover,” he stressed.

He added that “this and future viruses can only be controlled if we invest in health systems and we make sure that all people are included in vaccination efforts, including those in conflict zones and hard-to-reach areas.”

According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), the covid-19 pandemic caused the death of more than 15 million people worldwide, a “devastating” statistic that shows the “urgency to make vaccines available to all and to invest in health systems”.

Given this warning, the CIRC insisted that “armed conflicts wreak serious havoc on these systems, as infrastructure is damaged or unattended and supply chains are affected.”

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The agency stressed, however, that it is facilitating vaccination “in the most difficult section” and it is “helping to gain access across the front lines thanks to its neutral humanitarian work and collaborating with transport logistics and the preservation of cold chains”.

In this sense, he maintained that “it is very common for health personnel who work in conflict zones to be attacked or forced to flee.”

“When medical and nursing staff, as well as clinics and hospitals, are not protected in a conflict, the entire community suffers. In general, that implies that people have nowhere to go for assistance, much less, vaccines against covid-19 ″he pointed.

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They authorize in the US an anticovid vaccine booster for children from five to eleven years old

Meanwhile, The health authorities of the United States announced that children from five to eleven years old will be able to receive a booster dose of the vaccine against covid-19 from the Pfizer laboratory.

The Food and Drug Agency (Fda) of that country authorized the booster dose in that age group “to provide continuous protection against covid-19,” the agency explained in a statement.

A committee of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet on Thursday in order to consider the issue and define the recommendation of that booster dosewhich should be inoculated at least five months after the first series of two injections.

The dose used is 10 micrograms, both for the initial immunizations and for the extra dose (compared to 30 micrograms for those over 12 years of age).

FDA clearance It comes at a time when the United States is registering an increase in covid infections, with almost 90,000 cases declared per day.. Hospitalizations are also on the rise.

Covid-19 “tends to be less severe in children than in adults,” FDA chief Robert Califf said in the note. But “the wave linked to the omicron variant made more children sick, led to more hospitalizations and left infants with long-term effects,” he stressed.

The United States has 28 million children between the ages of five and eleven.

Americans over the age of 50 are already eligible for a second booster dose (fourth dose).

*With information from Europa Press and AFP.

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