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80,000-180,000 health workers estimated dead from COVID-19: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that 80,000 to 180,000 healthcare workers may have been killed by Covid-19 up to May this year, insisting they must be prioritised for vaccination. 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 and 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 healthcare workers needed to be among the first to be immunised 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, fewer than in one in 10 health workers have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, in most high-income countries, more than 80 per cent 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 prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines, alongside other at-risk groups.”

Ms Annette Kennedy, president of the International Council of Nurses, said the organisation grieved for all healthcare workers who had lost their lives in the pandemic – “many needlessly; many we could have saved”.

“It’s a shocking indictment of governments. It’s a shocking indictment of their lack of duty of care to protect healthcare workers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” she said.

Ms Kennedy warned: “They are now burnt out, they are devastated, they are physically and mentally exhausted. And there is a prediction that 10 per cent of them will leave within a very short time.

Source: straitstimes

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