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"When Will the Pandemic end? Experts Share Concern About Future Variants, Vaccine Access"

NBC’s Today interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the importance of vaccination to strop the pandemic

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

When news of the omicron coronavirus variant made headlines last week, for many, it felt like a step backward. But the truth is that we should expect more and more variants — including some that, like omicron, contain concerning mutations — until the rest of the world gains better access to COVID-19 vaccines.

As public health experts have said since the beginning of the pandemic, a global crisis like this one requires a global response. But while those of us in the U.S. may be scheduling our boosters, just more than 10% of people in Africa have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, NBC News reported.

In the U.S., about 60% of the population is fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicate. By contrast, South Africa, where omicron was first discovered, has vaccinated about 22% of its population, according to estimates from Reuters. Nearby countries (such as Botswana and Zimbabwe) are in the same 20% to 30% vaccinated range.