WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

12-Jul-2021 00:05:53
The World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, said there is a tendency for “mixing and matching” vaccine doses and warned that “it will be chaotic in countries if citizens start deciding when and who should be taking a second, third or a fourth dose." WHO
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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 05:29
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 25 JUNE 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, press briefing room
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization (WHO):
"There's a tendency now for people in the countries with enough availability of vaccine to voluntary start thinking about an additional dose. There are people who are thinking about mixing and matching, we see a lot of queries from people who say they have taken one and they are going to plan to take another one. So, it's a little bit of a dangerous trend here where people are, we are in a data free, evidence free zone insofar on mix and match. There is limited data on mix and match, there are studies going on, we have to wait for that and maybe it will be a good approach but at the moment we only have data on the AZ vaccines, Oxford AstraZeneca, followed by Pfizer. It will be chaotic in countries if citizens start deciding when and who should be taking a second, third or a fourth dose."
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Last week marked the fourth consecutive week of increasing cases of COVID-19 globally, with increases recorded in all but one of WHO’s six regions. And after 10 weeks of declines, deaths are increasing again. We continue to hear reports from all regions of the world about hospitals reaching capacity. The Delta variant is ripping around the world at a scorching pace, driving a new spike in cases and death. Not everywhere is taking the same hit though, we’re in the midst of a growing two-track pandemic where the haves and have-nots within and between countries are increasingly divergent."
5. Wide shot, press briefing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Delta is now in more than 104 countries and we expect it to soon be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide. The world is watching in real time as the COVID-19 virus continues to change and become more transmissible. My message today is that we are experiencing a worsening public health emergency that further threatens lives, livelihoods and a sound global economic recovery."
7. Wide shot, press briefing room
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"AstraZeneca has led on licensing their vaccines around the world to increase vaccine capacity quickly. As well as Europe, India, and South Korea, I am pleased to announce two more manufacturing sites, in Japan and Australia, which have now received a WHO Emergency Use Listing, bringing AstraZeneca’s EUL’s to five. This gives the green light for COVAX to buy vaccines from these additional facilities and enables countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and roll out vaccines. We need other manufacturers to follow this example."
9. Wide shot, press briefing room
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Programme (WHO):
"This is still a global crisis and it's a time to protect those most vulnerable in our society and if we don't do that and if we move on to other matters then I think we will be judged. A journalist asked before about the mass gathering events - will we look back in anger? I think we will look back in anger and in shame if we don't now move to use the increased production capacity that's coming online, transferring that technology for even more capacity using that to protect the most vulnerable, protect our frontline workers everywhere in the world and take the death and hospitalisation and ventilators out of this pandemic so we can then have more choices for broader coverage, for broader disease control and for boosters and everything else that comes with it. It's not to say one or other, it's putting things in a crisis in order."
11. Wide shot, press briefing room
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Programme (WHO):
"And what we've seen is that vaccines are not perfectly effective at preventing transmission. They're high effective at preventing hospitalisation and death and it is our view that the two measures together, public health and social measures, individual measures and vaccination working together, can keep this disease at some level of control without having to revert to these restrictive and destructive lock downs but our fear in this is that if we rely purely on the vaccination policy, when there are no vaccines for many countries, then we could easily end up in a situation where countries have no alternative but to lock down. You've seen it again and again, once hospital fill to the critical level, once we see those images, governments are left with no option but to shut society down and take the pressure off the health system."
13. Wide shot, press briefing room
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ann Lindstrand, Unit Head, Essential Programme on Immunization, World Health Programme (WHO):
"SAGE, our Strategic Advisor Group of Experts, are definitely looking at any evidence coming through on the need and use of booster doses. But at this point in time there is no data enough for us to point off the importance of those two doses, and particularly with the limited global supply its important to rethink if any country is pondering about increasing and using booster doses, and instead think of giving that supply or sharing that supply to countries that have not even reached their healthcare workers."
15. Close up, WHO emblem
STORYLINE
The World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, today (12 Jul) said there is a tendency for “mixing and matching” vaccine doses and warned that “it will be chaotic in countries if citizens start deciding when and who should be taking a second, third or a fourth dose."

During the WHO’s regular briefing on COVID-19, Swaminathan said “there's a tendency now for people in the countries with enough availability of vaccine to voluntary start thinking about an additional dose. There are people who are thinking about mixing and matching, we see a lot of queries from people who say they have taken one and they are going to plan to take another one. So, it's a little bit of a dangerous trend here where people are, we are in a data free, evidence free zone insofar on mix and match. There is limited data on mix and match, there are studies going on, we have to wait for that and maybe it will be a good approach but at the moment we only have data on the AZ vaccines, Oxford AstraZeneca, followed by Pfizer. It will be chaotic in countries if citizens start deciding when and who should be taking a second, third or a fourth dose."

During the briefing, the WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “last week marked the fourth consecutive week of increasing cases of COVID-19 globally, with increases recorded in all but one of WHO’s six regions. And after 10 weeks of declines, deaths are increasing again. We continue to hear reports from all regions of the world about hospitals reaching capacity.”

The Delta variant, he said, “is ripping around the world at a scorching pace, driving a new spike in cases and death. Not everywhere is taking the same hit though, we’re in the midst of a growing two-track pandemic where the haves and have-nots within and between countries are increasingly divergent."

Tedros said, "Delta is now in more than 104 countries and we expect it to soon be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide. The world is watching in real time as the COVID-19 virus continues to change and become more transmissible. My message today is that we are experiencing a worsening public health emergency that further threatens lives, livelihoods and a sound global economic recovery."

The Director-General pointed out that "AstraZeneca has led on licensing their vaccines around the world to increase vaccine capacity quickly.”

He announced, “two more manufacturing sites, in Japan and Australia, which have now received a WHO Emergency Use Listing, bringing AstraZeneca’s EUL’s to five.” He added that “this gives the green light for COVAX to buy vaccines from these additional facilities and enables countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and roll out vaccines” and stressed that “we need other manufacturers to follow this example."

WHO’s Executive Director for its Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Mike Ryan, said, “this is still a global crisis and it's a time to protect those most vulnerable in our society and if we don't do that and if we move on to other matters then I think we will be judged. A journalist asked before about the mass gathering events - will we look back in anger? I think we will look back in anger and in shame if we don't now move to use the increased production capacity that's coming online, transferring that technology for even more capacity using that to protect the most vulnerable, protect our frontline workers everywhere in the world and take the death and hospitalisation and ventilators out of this pandemic so we can then have more choices for broader coverage, for broader disease control and for boosters and everything else that comes with it. It's not to say one or other, it's putting things in a crisis in order."

Ryan said, “and what we've seen is that vaccines are not perfectly effective at preventing transmission. They're high effective at preventing hospitalisation and death and it is our view that the two measures together, public health and social measures, individual measures and vaccination working together, can keep this disease at some level of control without having to revert to these restrictive and destructive lock downs but our fear in this is that if we rely purely on the vaccination policy, when there are no vaccines for many countries, then we could easily end up in a situation where countries have no alternative but to lock down. You've seen it again and again, once hospital fill to the critical level, once we see those images, governments are left with no option but to shut society down and take the pressure off the health system."

Briefing remotely, the Head of WHO’s Essential Programme on Immunization, Dr Ann Lindstrand, said, "SAGE, our Strategic Advisor Group of Experts, are definitely looking at any evidence coming through on the need and use of booster doses. But at this point in time there is no data enough for us to point off the importance of those two doses, and particularly with the limited global supply its important to rethink if any country is pondering about increasing and using booster doses, and instead think of giving that supply or sharing that supply to countries that have not even reached their healthcare workers."
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