Omicron brings COVID-19 vaccine inequity ‘home to roost’

LONDON (AP) — The emergence of the new omicron variant and the world’s desperate and likely futile attempts to keep it at bay are reminders of what scientists have warned for months: The coronavirus will thrive as long as vast parts of the world lack vaccines. The hoarding of limited COVID-19 shots by rich countries has created virtual vaccine deserts. That threatens to prolong the pandemic for everyone. That’s because the more the disease spreads among unvaccinated populations, the more possibilities it has to mutate and potentially become more dangerous. Perhaps nowhere is the inequality more evident than in Africa, where under 7% of the population is vaccinated. South African scientists identified the new omicron variant. Researchers are now rushing to learn more about it.