The World Health Organization on Thursday said that up to 1.8 lakh of the estimated 13.5 crore healthcare workers in the world may have died from the coronavirus disease between January 2020 and May 2021, AFP reported.

The WHO chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said healthcare workers need to be vaccinated on priority. “Data from 119 countries suggest that on average, two in five health and care workers globally are fully vaccinated,” he said. “But of course that average masks huge differences across regions and economic groupings.”

Tedros added that the unvaccinated status of millions of healthcare workers reflects poorly on national governments and companies that control global supply of doses.

“In Africa, less than one in 10 health workers have been fully vaccinated,” he said. “Meanwhile, in most high-income countries, more than 80% of health workers are fully vaccinated.”

On Wednesday, the WHO had said that the coronavirus pandemic could easily go on till the end of 2022 because poorer countries are not getting vaccines. The health body had pointed out that only 5% of Africa’s population was vaccinated.

On Thursday, the WHO said that it expects every country to have vaccinated 40% of its population by the end of 2021, according to AFP. However, Tedros said that 82 countries could miss the vaccination target due to insufficient supply of doses.

Globally, coronavirus has affected more than 24.24 crore people and killed over 49.29 lakh people since the pandemic broke out in January last year, according to Johns Hopkins University. So far, more than 673 crore doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered across the world.