Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine in jeopardy- says WHO DG

Director General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has expressed concern that it’s goal to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine especially to low and middle income countries is being compromised.

The DG, while addressing a press conference on Thursday, regrets that some countries are pursuing new deals outside of COVAX Facility offering higher prices. COVAX is a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines.

Ghebreyesus informed that 42 countries have started vaccinating their high-risk populations with various COVID-19 vaccines and 36 of them are high-income and six are upper middle-income countries.

“This is clearly a problem and this problem is getting worse because some countries are pursuing new deals outside of COVAX offering higher prices.

“This compromises our collective commitment to equitable access. We have to take action to address this” he said.

The DG while recalling that 190 countries and economies committed to the COVAX Facility, said it is expected that all stakeholders ensure vaccines are distributed as swiftly and equitably as possible to all countries.

“We have a collective responsibility to make this a reality” Ghebreyesus said.

“History will not judge us kindly if we fail the low- and middle-income countries in their hour of need and sharing is in the best interest of each and every country.

“We can only recover faster as a global community by sharing” he added.

Furthermore, the DG said acall for nominations to rapidly establish the Independent Allocation of Vaccine Group for the COVAX Facility has been issued and urged Member State to send in nominations as soon as possible..

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