WHO defines Long Covid: Guterres: hoarding vaccine is stupidity

The World Health Organization has missed its target of having vaccinated at least ten percent of people in every country in the world by the end of September. The responsibility for this also rests with many countries with good vaccination rates. They acted “stupidly” and would encourage the pandemic.

UN Secretary General António Guterres has harshly criticized rich countries for hoarding corona vaccines. Withholding corona vaccines from poorer countries and thus preventing fair distribution is “not just a question of immorality, it is also a question of stupidity,” said Guterres at an online press conference with the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

In the opinion of the WHO, all countries that have already vaccinated more than 40 percent of their population against Corona are not doing enough to fight the virus more effectively with vaccinations in disadvantaged countries. The WHO’s goal was to immunize at least ten percent of the population in every country in the world by the end of September. In 56 countries, however, the target was missed – and that “not because of their own mistake,” as Tedros emphasized. The unequal distribution of vaccines “favors the corona pandemic,” warned Guterres. “It allows variants to develop and rampant,” he added.

He warned of millions more deaths from Covid-19 and an economic downturn caused by the pandemic that could “cost trillions of dollars”. The Secretary General said that if the coronavirus spreads in areas with a low vaccination rate, there is a greater risk that variants will develop against which the vaccines will not help. “Any vaccination effort in developed countries, vaccinating the whole population one, two or three times, will ruin all of these efforts,” Guterres warned. Tedros agreed that the world would be “on the brink of failure if vaccines do not become widely available immediately”. The global vaccine production is sufficient to achieve at least the next goal of achieving a vaccination quota of at least 40 percent in every country by the end of the year.

Tedros also announced that the WHO had now completed a definition for the long-term effects of a corona infection known under the catchphrase “Long Covid”. The symptoms must therefore occur within three months of a corona infection, last at least two months and cannot be explained by any other diagnosis. Common symptoms are exhaustion, shortness of breath and cognitive impairment. According to the definition, the complaints can appear from the beginning or only after the acute stage of the corona infection and their strength can decrease and increase over time. The WHO definition makes it easier to diagnose and research Long Covid, explained Tedros.