COVID-19 may have killed 180,000 health workers, WHO says

Between 80,000 and 180,000 health care workers may have been killed by COVID-19 as of May this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday, urging to prioritize medical professionals for vaccination, News.Az reports citing AFP. 

The WHO said the fact that millions of health workers remain unvaccinated is an "indictment" on the countries and companies controlling the global supply of doses.

A WHO paper estimated that out of the planet's 135 million health staff, "between 80,000 to 180,000 health and care workers could have died from COVID-19 in the period between January 2020 to May 2021."

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health care workers needed to be among the first immunized against the disease, as he slammed the global inequity in the vaccine roll-out.

"Data from 119 countries suggest that on average, two in five health and care workers globally are fully vaccinated. But of course, that average masks huge differences," he said.

"In Africa, less than in one in 10 health workers have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, in most high-income countries, more than 80% of health workers are fully vaccinated."

He added: "We call on all countries to ensure that all health and care workers in every country are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines, alongside other at-risk groups."

News.Az 

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