WHO calls for vaccine equity
COVID will not be beaten without global solidarity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on political leaders worldwide “to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19”.
WHO says this requires the scaling up of vaccine manufacture and “rejecting vaccine nationalism at every turn”.
“Due to unprecedented scientific efforts, vaccines are now being distributed in more than 70 countries across the world, with health workers in those places rightly among the first groups to receive them.
“In the majority of low- and middle-income countries, vaccination has not even started, which is a catastrophe as hospitals fill up.
“We must act swiftly to correct this injustice,” it said.
WHO is championing two initiatives – the COVAX facility and the COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
The COVAX facility is a COVID-19 vaccine and procurement initiative, which aims to ensure poorer countries are able to access doses.
The COVID-19 Tools Accelerator aims to spur the development and distribution of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. It has a financing gap of $27 billion for 2021.
“This is a fraction of the projected global economic cost of up to $9.2 trillion if governments do not ensure developing economies have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.
‘In the majority of low- and middle-income countries, vaccination has not even started which is a catastrophe as hospitals fill up. We must act swiftly to correct this injustice.’ — World Health Organization