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Global COVID death toll of health workers estimated at over 100,000 – WHO discloses

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed that more than 100,000 health workers are estimated to have died of COVID-19 between January 2020 and May 2021.

This was disclosed on Thursday by WHO director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus at a media briefing on COVID-19.

According to Ghebreyesus, the pandemic has shown the significance of health workers, adding that vaccination for them needs to be prioritised.

“The pandemic is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on health workers, and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect our health are themselves unprotected,” he said.

“A new WHO working paper estimates that 115,000 health workers may have died from COVID-19 between January 2020 and May 2021. That is why health workers must be prioritised for vaccination.

“Data from 119 countries suggests that on average, two in five health and care workers globally are fully vaccinated, but of course that average masks huge difference across regions and economic groupings.

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

“More than 10 months since the first vaccines were approved, the fact that millions of health workers have not been vaccinated is an indictment on the countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines.

“High and upper-middle-income countries have now administered almost half as many booster shots as the total number of vaccines administered in low-income countries.”

He also urged the international community to ensure equity in the distribution of vaccines.

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