The WHO makes a new defense of vaccines against covid

GENEVA – Almost three years after the pandemic broke out, the World Health Organization (WHO) once again came out in defense of vaccines against covid-19, guaranteeing that they are safe and, in addition, necessary to save lives.

“Our advice to the public remains that the benefits of vaccination against covid-19 far outweigh the potential risk. This is based on the evidence,” WHO immunization director Kate O’Brien said at a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in this Swiss city.

The WHO thus faced what it considered a new wave of misinformation about vaccines in some media and social networks, particularly in the United States.

“The vaccines we have to protect us against covid-19 are very effective in preventing serious illness and death, although they are less effective in preventing people from becoming infected or passing the virus to another person,” O’Brien said.

He stressed that although many people do not see their need because vaccines are not effective in preventing infection or transmission of the disease, they are very effective in preventing death and hospitalizations.

“However, maximizing this effectiveness against hospitalizations, severe cases, and mortality necessarily requires people to take all the recommended doses. And this is especially important for people who are in priority groups,” O’Brien explained.

In particular, the strains of the virus that are circulating, such as omicron, require a third dose as a booster, he pointed out.

By priority groups, the specialist referred to the people most vulnerable to infection: those over 60 years of age, sick people, those with a weakened immune system, pregnant women and health workers.

As for concerns about the side effects of strokes caused by vaccines that are based on mRNA technology, O’Brien said the WHO evaluation has found no corroborating evidence of the link.

And regarding a risk of vaccine-induced myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle, the expert commented that it is an “extremely rare” side effect, that it is mild and that it can also be treated.

The risk of rare cardiac adverse events associated with anticovid vaccination is one of the most prominent topics in anti-vaccine propaganda.

O’Brien insisted that “the risk of vaccinal myocarditis has been identified before, but these are very rare cases. When they do occur, they are usually mild inflammations, which respond well to treatment and disappear after a few days, being less severe than other types of myocarditis”.

For this reason, the WHO recommendation continues to be that the benefits of vaccines continue to outweigh the risks.

On the other hand, O’Brien said that since the start of the pandemic in early 2020 “we have accumulated the cases of more than 50 million children who have not received essential vaccines against measles, rubella, diphtheria and other infections life-threatening for those we vaccinate.”

The WHO, according to the person in charge, also plans to work in 2023 on addressing missed vaccinations against malaria and other diseases, after some of these campaigns were affected by the confinements observed during the pandemic, among other factors.

A-E/HM

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