WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 14 September 2021

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research


WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 14 September 2021
14 September 2021
:: WHO’s global targets are to support every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population by the end of this year, and 70% of the world’s population by the middle of next year. So far, just two countries in Africa have reached the 40% target, the lowest of any region. More than 5.7 billion doses have been administered globally, but only 2% of those have been administered in Africa.
:: The longer vaccine inequity persists, the more the virus will keep circulating and changing, the longer the social and economic disruption will continue, and the higher the chances that more variants will emerge that render vaccines less effective. 
:: So far, COVAX has shipped more than 260 million doses to 141 countries. But as you know, COVAX has also faced several challenges, with manufacturers prioritizing bilateral deals and many high-income countries tying up the global supply of vaccines.
:: Last year, the African Union established the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, or AVAT, as a compliment to COVAX to purchase vaccines for AU Member States. Yesterday and today, we had a very constructive meeting between partners from COVAX and AVAT to agree on a way forward. Vaccine inequity is a solvable problem.
:: This Friday is World Patient Safety Day. Our theme this year is safe maternal and newborn care. Every day, nearly 5,400 babies are stillborn, and more than 800 women and 6,700 newborns die mainly around the time of childbirth.  We call on all countries, health workers, communities and partners to act now for safe and respectful childbirth.



Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 14 September 2021
With nearly 4 million new cases reported globally in the past week (6-12 September), this represents the first substantial decline in weekly cases in more than two months. All regions reported declines in new cases as compared to the previous week. The number of deaths reported globally in the past week also decreased as compared to the previous week, with just over 62 000 new deaths. The African Region reported an increase in the number of weekly deaths (7%), while the South-East Asia Region reported the largest decrease (20%). The American and Eastern Mediterranean Regions reported slightly smaller decreases, 9% and 6% respectively, while the numbers of deaths reported in the European and the Western Pacific Regions were similar to last week. The cumulative number of cases reported globally is now over 224 million and the cumulative number of deaths is just over 4.6 million.
In this edition, two special focus updates are provided on:
:: SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta which includes updates on the geographic distribution of VOCs
:: COVID-19 in children and adolescents.