Thursday, 25 February, 2021


Vaccine nationalism puts world on brink of 'catastrophic moral failure'

World is on the brink of a 'catastrophic moral failure' on vaccines WHO chief ‘Catastrophic moral failure’: WHO warns over vaccine distribution
Bennie Garza | 18 January, 2021, 21:05

The WHO's vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX is set to start rolling out vaccines to poor and middle income countries in February with 2 of 3 billion targeted doses expected to be delivered this year.

Studies have warned that almost one in four people in the poorest parts of the world people may not get Covid-19 vaccines until at least 2022 because rich countries have already reserved 51 per cent of the most promising jabs. The current crisis was a chance to "rewrite history", by ensuring that vaccines are distributed fairly between countries and to those who need them the most.

"Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest income country - not 25 million, not 25,000 - just 25", he said.

He also accused some countries of committing reassuring words on equitable access and prioritising their own selfish motives by securing deals for themselves in a hurry with the aim of skipping waiting time, leading to a surge in prices.

He says the promise of worldwide equitable access to vaccines against the coronavirus pandemic is now at serious risk, in a speech in Geneva opening a World Health Organization executive board meeting.

Once again using figures as evidence, he said that 44 such deals had already been stuck in the pandemic year of 2020 and at least 12 new deals have been finalised since the New Year.

"The situation is compounded by the fact that most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approvals in rich countries where the profits are highest rather than submitting full dossiers to the WHO", added Tedros, who has called for the distribution of vaccines to health care workers and the elderly in all countries within the first 100 days of this year.

Proponents say the deal could allow Israel to become the first country to vaccinate most of its population, while providing valuable research that could help the rest of the world.

That appeared to allude to a shortage of data the United Nations health agency says it has received from vaccine makers so that WHO can approve their shots for wider emergency use.

"Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, countries should avoid making the same mistakes made during the H1N1 and HIV pandemics".

Vaccines are the shot in the arm we all need, literally and figuratively, he said.

"But it's not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries". "There will be enough vaccine for everyone".

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