Perspective - Omicron: New Covid Concern

In this episode of the Perspective Prog. based on Omicron: New Covid Concern. No country, no community, no individual is safe until everyone across the world is safe. The emergence of a new variant of coronavirus has once again brought the spotlight on how unprecedented the pandemic is and the precarious situation we’re all in. We may have come to think that the pandemic is over, but the virus is not over with us yet. As we speak, scientists across the world are scrambling to gather more data on the new Omicron variant to understand how dangerous it is in terms of transmission and severity…and whether the current vaccines will be effective against it. The World Health Organisation has designated Omicron – the B.1.1.529 lineage of Sars-Cov-2 as a variant of concern – leading to fears of another global surge in cases. Dozens of countries have imposed travel bans from South African nations, where the omicron variant was first identified. Others have imposed stricter measures to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. As on date, at least 12 countries have confirmed Omicron cases. Meanwhile, a number of countries have started booster vaccinations to check the advance of the new strain. But the question is: As long as vaccine inequity is not addressed, can the world think of defeating the coronavirus pandemic and restoring normalcy? According to the World Health Organisation, more than 80% of the world’s vaccines have gone to G20 countries. The low income countries, mainly in Africa, have only about 0.6% of the world’s vaccines. So what should be done to ensure vaccine equity – which is in everyone’s interests? What are the challenges in achieving equitable vaccine distribution and what kind of commitments does it require from countries leading the vaccine-race.

1. Dr. V. Ravi, Virologist
2. Dr. Raman R. Gangakhedkar, Dr. C.G. Pandit National Chair, ICMR
3. Dr. Sanjay Rai, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, AIIMS

Anchor: Teena Jha

Producer: Amit Srivastav, Sagheer Ahmad

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