Amnesty International says at least 17,000 health workers have died from COVID-19

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Mar 05, 2021, 06:30 PM IST
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A file photo of a health worker inoculating a person with the CoronaVac vaccine against the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Photograph:(AFP)

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The organisation called for urgent action to speed up the vaccination of millions of frontline health workers around the world

Amnesty International on Friday said that at least 17,000 health workers have died from COVID-19 over the last year.

The organisation called for urgent action to speed up the vaccination of millions of frontline health workers around the world.  

The grave warning came as global inequalities in vaccine access continued to widen. More than half the world’s doses have so far been administered in just 10 rich countries, making up less than 10 per cent of the world’s population, while over 100 countries are yet to vaccinate a single person.

With many poorer countries due to receive their first batches of vaccines in the coming weeks and months, the organizations called on governments to include all frontline health workers in their distribution plans, including those often ignored in the pandemic such as cleaners, community health workers and social care workers, in order to save lives and provide safe working conditions.  

According to Steve Cockburn, Head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International, “For one health worker to die from COVID-19 every 30 minutes is both a tragedy and an injustice. Health workers all over the world have put their lives on the line to try and keep people safe from COVID-19, yet far too many have been left unprotected and paid the ultimate price.''

“Governments must ensure all health workers, everywhere, are protected from COVID-19. Having risked their lives throughout the pandemic, it’s time they were prioritized for life-saving vaccines. Urgent action must be taken to close the huge global inequalities in vaccine access, so a community health worker in Peru is protected as much as a doctor in the UK.” 

The organizations analysed available data published by governments, unions, media and civil society organizations in over 70 countries. However, these figures are likely to be a significant underestimate, given that many governments have not collected official data, or have done so only partially.  

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 2,570,291 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019. Based on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were Brazil with 1,699 new deaths, followed by United States with 1,016 and Mexico with 822.