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17 Aug, 2021 11:38

‘Extremely concerned’: WHO says Kabul chaos has slowed Covid-19 vaccination drive

‘Extremely concerned’: WHO says Kabul chaos has slowed Covid-19 vaccination drive

The World Health Organization has registered its concern about the rapidly deteriorating health situation in Afghanistan, as the Taliban takeover and chaos at Kabul airport have slowed Covid vaccinations.

On Tuesday, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a UN briefing that upheaval in war-torn Afghanistan, triggered by the Taliban’s capture of Kabul, was contributing to a worsening health situation. 

“As the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate rapidly, WHO is extremely concerned over the unfolding safety and humanitarian needs in the country, including risk of disease outbreaks and rise in Covid-19 transmission,” Jasarevic stated.

The spokesman noted that the Taliban’s seizure of power had seen the country’s vaccination drive against Covid-19 slow. He added that the chaotic scenes at Kabul airport were impacting deliveries of medical supplies and worsening existing shortages.

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The WHO’s medical teams haven’t been operating for the last 24 hours due to the instability and unfolding chaos, but they remain on the ground, he noted. Jasarevic added that the WHO was committed to staying in the country.

According to scientific publication and online tracker Our World in Data, to date only 1,809,517 Covid-19 vaccines doses have been administered in the country, and only 219,159 people are fully vaccinated – equivalent to 0.68% of the population. 

On Monday, footage from Kabul showed chaotic scenes as people stormed the city’s airport in an attempt to flee the Taliban’s regime.

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