Wow: 13.3 Billion Covid Vaccines Have Been Administered

Joseph Iyanu
13.3 billion Covid-19 vaccines administered globally. WHO declares pandemic no longer a public health emergency, transitions to long-term management.
WHO confirms that 13.3 billion covid vaccines has been administered globally.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced a significant milestone in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. To date, 13.3 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered globally. 

Consequently, the WHO Director-General declared that Covid-19 is now considered an ongoing health issue and no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

A Decreasing Trend In Covid-19 Impact

During the fifteenth meeting of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee, members highlighted the positive trends emerging from the pandemic.

These include decreasing Covid-19 deaths, declining hospitalizations and ICU admissions, and high levels of population immunity to SARS-CoV-2.

As a result, the committee advised transitioning to long-term management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This turning point signifies that the world is gradually shifting from a reactive response to the pandemic to a more proactive and sustainable approach. 

It also means that while Covid-19 may continue circulating and evolving, it will no longer be considered an unusual or unexpected event.

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Impressive Vaccination Coverage

According to the WHO, 89% of health workers and 82% of adults over 60 years have completed their primary vaccine series. However, coverage varies in different regions. 

WHO releases impressive vaccination data. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The termination of the PHEIC should not affect access to vaccines and diagnostics that have already received an Emergency Use Listing (EUL). The continuity of EULs will enable a smooth transition to prequalification of vaccines and diagnostics.

These impressive vaccination rates have played a significant role in mitigating the impact of the pandemic. As more people get vaccinated, the risk of severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths decreases, ultimately easing the burden on healthcare systems worldwide.

Long-term Management And Recommendations

The WHO Director-General concurred with the committee’s advice and proposed convening an IHR Review Committee to advise on standing recommendations for long-term management of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. 

This approach will take into account the 2023-2025 Covid-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

Temporary recommendations issued by the WHO Director-General to all States Parties include:

  1. Sustain national capacity gains and prepare for future events.
  2. Integrate Covid-19 vaccination into life course vaccination programs.
  3. Bring together information from diverse respiratory pathogen surveillance data sources for comprehensive situational awareness.
  4. Prepare for medical countermeasures to be authorized within national regulatory frameworks to ensure long-term availability and supply.
  5. Continue to work with communities and their leaders to achieve strong, resilient, and inclusive risk communications and community engagement (RCCE) and infodemic management programs.
  6. Continue to lift Covid-19 international travel-related health measures based on risk assessments and not require proof of vaccination against Covid-19 as a prerequisite for international travel.
  7. Support research to improve vaccines that reduce transmission and have broad applicability, understand the full spectrum, incidence, and impact of post-Covid-19 conditions, and develop relevant integrated care pathways.

The Road Ahead

Reaching this milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic is a testament to international coordination and commitment to global health. 

The focus now shifts to long-term management and addressing the gaps recognized during the pandemic. Strengthening health systems, continuing active risk communications, and integrating Covid-19 surveillance into routine health programs are all vital steps in ensuring a healthier future.

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