WHO Director-General “appalled” over global COVID-19 vaccine inequity

September 20, 2021
WHO Director-General “appalled” over global COVID-19 vaccine inequity

Global vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX – launched in 2020 to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for low-income nations – is reportedly falling short of its vaccine distribution milestones for this year. COVAX initially aimed to deliver two billion COVID-19 doses to 92 low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. A new supply forecast from COVAX however reports that it only expects to fulfil delivery of around 1.4 billion doses by the end of this year, as high and upper-middle income countries continue to hoard supplies.

“… the global picture of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable,” COVAX states in its latest report. “Only 20% of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have received a first dose of vaccine compared to 80% in high- and upper-middle income countries. In the critical months during which COVAX was created, signed on participants, pooled demand, and raised enough money to make advance purchases of vaccines, much of the early global supply had already been bought by wealthy nations.

“Today, COVAX’s ability to protect the most vulnerable people in the world continues to be hampered by export bans, the prioritisation of bilateral deals by manufacturers and countries, ongoing challenges in scaling up production by some key producers, and delays in filing for regulatory approval.”

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), was extraordinarily critical of this unfortunate predicament. In his latest media briefing, Dr. Ghebreyesus pointed out that less than 15% of the billion vaccine doses promised by wealthy countries had been delivered, while booster doses are already being distributed in highly vaccinated nations.

“Yesterday, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association said that G7 countries now have enough vaccines for all their adults and teenagers, and to offer booster doses to at-risk groups, and that manufacturing scale-up should now shift to delivering global vaccine equity, including dose sharing,” he said. “When I read this, I was appalled. Manufacturers and high-income countries have long had the capacity to not only vaccinate their own priority groups, but to simultaneously support the vaccination of those same groups in all countries.”

The WHO is now calling for an extension of a global moratorium of COVID-19 booster doses until the end of 2021, so crucial vaccine supplies can be diverted to those countries still yet to receive first doses.

Dr. Ghebreyesus notes this moratorium proposition does not apply to booster shots for at-risk populations such as the immunocompromised; he said that booster plans for otherwise healthy, fully vaccinated adults is unnecessary and inequitable.

Read: Pfizer/BioNTech first in WHO list for emergency use COVID-19 vaccine

“There has been a lot of talk about vaccine equity, but too little action. We don’t want any more promises. We just want the vaccines.”

Content source

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Uncategorized

Comments are closed.