Global immunity crucial to overcoming COVID-19 pandemic, , says public health expert at Arab Health

Global immunity crucial to overcoming COVID-19 pandemic, says public health expert at Arab Health

  • Despite only 10-15% of the global population vaccinated, progress is being made in some of the hardest-hit countries, including India
  • Private sector and government working partnerships crucial to the effective global rollout of vaccines
  • Comments courtesy of Dr Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, Rhode Island, USA at Arab Health, which continues live and in-person on 23 & 24 June in Dubai

Not until the vast majority of people worldwide are immune from the COVID-19 virus will we come out of the pandemic, was the stark advice from public health expert Dr Ashish Jha, during the opening day of Arab Health 2021.

Speaking at the Public Health Conference during a session on emergency preparedness, response and recovery, Dr Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, highlighted that globally only 10 to 15% of the population, around two billion people, have been vaccinated, which he believes puts us currently halfway through the pandemic globally.

“We’re in the middle of the worst health crisis in a century, and the challenges are varied and what the pandemic looks like varies tremendously based on where you are at any given moment,” said Dr Jha.

“Numbers are coming down because countries are in lockdown or are using public health measures. We see real progress in some of the hardest-hit countries like India; however, we’re not going to be done with this pandemic until we have the vast majority of people immune from the virus, and we are nowhere near that,” he added.Global immunity crucial to overcoming COVID-19 pandemic,

During the session, several challenges to the vaccination rollout were highlighted, including vaccine equity. Despite global commitments surrounding vaccine equity, most of the world, largely the African continent and parts of Asia, still do not have access.

“The bottom line is most countries don’t have access to vaccines. Despite all of the global talk about vaccine equity, countries have prioritised their citizens. If we let the current status quo continue, it’s probably going to take two to three years to get everybody vaccinated – we have to do much better than that,” said Dr Jha.

More cohesion between the private sector and the government to address the shortage of raw materials preventing companies from making vaccines was also highlighted. Technology transfer and the need for companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca to do more in terms of sharing technology with companies able to produce vaccines was also outlined as a potential course of action to meet global vaccine targets.

“Even if you have people willing and able to make vaccines, there’s a shortage of raw materials. In my mind, this is a classic role of the government to start working with companies that have not traditionally been in the raw material space. People should be asking themselves, ‘can we change our manufacturing and change our focus to make some of the raw materials that vaccine makers need to produce vaccines’,” explained Dr Jha.

“We need a very concerted effort. This is going to require a very close partnership with both the private sector and governments to make more vaccines available,” he added.

Ross Williams, Exhibition Director at Arab Health, said: “With the global outbreak of COVID-19, public health has been brought to the forefront of discussion by looking at strategy and policy. With the pandemic still affecting billions of people around the world, it is important for us to create a platform that focuses on basic concepts, consequences, prevention and control of COVID-19, as well as other areas of public health impacted by the pandemic, such as the social, cultural, and economic factors.”

One of the companies helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the region is Honeywell, the associate partner of the Public Health Conference and innovation partner of Arab Health. Along with Strata, they have established the first UAE-based production of critical N95 masks in response to the global pandemic.

Arab Health has been developed under the show theme of ‘United by Business, driving the industry forward, with the live, in-person event expected to welcome 1,500 exhibiting companies and over 20,000 attendees expected during the Live, in-person event.

to improve medical practice and ultimately improve patient outcomes. A total of 12 medical conferences will take place between 21-24 June, nine of which will be Continuing Medical Education (CME) accredited.

Arab Health’s live and in-person congress takes place until Thursday 24 June 2021.

About Arab Health

As part of Informa Markets commitment to provide the highest hygiene levels at all events, the company has launched Informa AllSecure – a 35-point guide to ensuring attendee and staff safety.

Arab Health is the largest healthcare event in the Middle East and is organised by Informa Markets. Established 46 years ago, Arab Health provides a platform for the world’s leading manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors to meet the medical and scientific community in the Middle East and subcontinent.

Arab Health Congress is reputed for delivering the highest quality Continuing Medical Education (CME) Conferences to medical professionals in the region.

Arab Health 2021 will take place from 21-24 June 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and in a digital event format from 23 May-22 July 2021.

About Medlab Middle East

As the MENA region’s largest medical laboratory exhibition and congress, Medlab Middle East, which takes place alongside Arab Health, plays a crucial role in developing the value of laboratory medicine in transforming tomorrow’s diagnostics by providing a platform for laboratory industry leaders, including manufacturers, dealers and distributors, to share best practice, showcase new innovations, collaborate and network.

Medlab Middle East stems from 15 years of growth alongside the MENA region’s largest healthcare event, Arab Health. Moving into its 5th year as a stand-alone show, this annual medical laboratory meeting brings together exhibitors and attendees from over 140+ countries.

Medlab Middle East will take place from 21 – 24 June 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, UAE. A digital event will occur from 23 May – 22 July 2021.