GENEVA (AP) — The United Nations’ health agency, which has repeatedly urged the world to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other illnesses, on Friday declined to say how many of its own staffers have followed that advice.

“We won’t have that because it’s confidential,” said Dr. Margaret Harris, a World Health Organization spokeswoman.

Referring to United Nations personnel, U.N. Geneva spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said: “We don’t disclose this kind of information. It’s something that is said to the medical service. So, no, unfortunately, we won’t be able to give you these numbers.”

Vellucci said she would look into whether percentages of U.N. staff that had been vaccinated could be provided.

In November, the WHO indicated 65 of its staffers had tested positive for COVID-19 at the time, confirming information in an internal e-mail obtained by The Associated Press. The U.N. office in Geneva has often indicated how many of its staff tested positive.

Governments list how many people are vaccinated against the coronavirus, and the WHO compiles the information and reports on it. Some countries and companies require vaccines for their workers to go to their jobs.


The refusal to provide vaccination figures by the WHO and the U.N. itself point to legal strictures that many organizations face about privacy, particularly in Europe.

The U.N. and the WHO have repeatedly trumpeted vaccination as part of an array of measures like mask-wearing, proper hygiene, and physical distancing needed to help try to beat the pandemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said he’s been vaccinated, and he has encouraged others to do so too. His agency and many health authorities worldwide have struggled to beat back a wave of anti-vaccine sentiment in many places.