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WHO’s plea as countries ‘scramble’ for COVID-19 vaccines

Article image for WHO’s plea as countries ‘scramble’ for COVID-19 vaccines

With the European Union threatening to cut COVID-19 vaccine exports amid surging cases of the virus in Europe, Australia is scrambling to ensure it receives enough doses.

World Health Organisation spokesperson, Dr Margaret Harris, says many countries are in the same situation.

“There is a lot of scrambling for vaccines at the moment,” she told Ross and Russel.

Dr Harris urged countries to only vaccinate the most vulnerable groups — medical and frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions — and pass on the rest of their vaccines to other countries in need.

“At the moment only 10 countries in the world are really accounting for 95 per cent of the use of the vaccine,” she said.

“It’s not so much about how many people you’re vaccinating but please ensure you use it wisely, use it for those top groups, and if you’ve got excess please consider sharing.”

While COVID-19 levels in Australia are amongst the lowest in the world, Dr Harris says it’s still crucial that vulnerable groups get the jab as soon as possible.

“Get your healthcare workers vaccinated, get your frontline workers and your older age groups, because if it does come back those are the people who are at highest risk and those are the people who are going to fill your hospitals,” she said.

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