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WHO Says COVID At 'Transition Point,' Signals Medical Treatments From EUA List

Officials on Pandemic Emergency Committee also urged member nations not to pursue vaccine passports for travel

Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) say the COVID-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency, but acknowledge that the pandemic may be approaching an inflection point, as the organization updated its recommendations to reflect the virus becoming endemic.

“As we enter the fourth year of the pandemic, we are certainly in a much better position now than we were a year ago, when the Omicron wave was at its peak, and more than 70 thousand deaths were being reported to WHO each week,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in remarks at the organization’s annual board meeting.

WHO officials said in a statement following the event that more than 170,000cCOVID-19-related deaths have been reported globally within the past eight weeks. Officials did not differentiate between deaths of individuals that were because of COVID and deaths of individuals who died of other causes and simply tested positive for COVID around the time of death.

The meeting of members on the COVID-19 Emergency Committee assessed the global response to the virus and explored changes to recommendations as the world moves to a phase where COVID is accepted as endemic.

“Vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics have been critical in preventing severe disease, saving lives and taking the pressure off health systems and health workers,” Tedros said. “But the global response remains hobbled because in too many countries, these powerful, life-saving tools are still not getting to the populations that need them most – especially older people and health workers.”

The Committee said the pandemic “may be approaching an inflection point” and that there is “little doubt that this virus will remain a permanent established pathogen in humans and animals for the foreseeable future.”

WHO officials are still pursuing a goal of vaccinating every single person (100 percent) considered to be in a “high-priority” group.

They are also calling on countries to increase access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, urging countries around the world to prepare vaccines to be authorized outside of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and integrated into normal vaccine policies and regulatory frameworks.

Officials also openly opposed vaccine passports, recommending member nations “not require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a prerequisite for international travel.”

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