The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) left a clear warning about unequal access to vaccines against Covid-19.
“More than 39 million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 have been administered in 49 high-income countries. But only 25 were given in a low-income country. There are not 25 million, nor 25 thousand. Only 25 doses, ”said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at the opening of the WHO executive council meeting this Tuesday.
In light of this reality, the official launched an alert: “I need to be honest. The world is on the verge of a catastrophic moral failure and the price of that failure will be paid in the lives of the poorest countries ", quotes the" CNBC ", the statements of the director-general.
At issue is inequality in access to health, which became transparent in the Covid-19 crisis. Rich countries, with the capacity to sign contracts with major pharmaceutical companies to pre-order many millions of vaccines against the new coronavirus, have exhausted the production capacity of pharmaceutical companies. This high demand, and the weak purchasing power, blocked the attempt to order from the poorest countries, and according to some calculations, some nations may be deprived of these drugs until 2024.
These countries place most of their expectations on the global COVAX initiative, put in place by WHO, the GAVI Alliance and other international organizations dedicated to promoting vaccination. The program aims to distribute at least two billion doses by the end of 2021 in order to immunize 20% of the most vulnerable people in 91 poor countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Although he considers that the development of a vaccine a year after the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in Wuhan, China, was “an impressive achievement and a much needed source of hope”, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that “it is not certain that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health professionals and the elderly in poorer countries ”.
So, leave a suggestion to countries that have accumulated millions of doses: why not share some with the poorest countries, through the COVAX initiative, after having vaccinated their priority populations, health workers and older people?
“It is still not too late. I appeal to all countries to work together to ensure that, in the first 100 days of this year, vaccination of health workers and older people can begin in all countries ”, he reinforced. "There will be enough vaccines for everyone, but now we have to work together as a global family to prioritize those most at risk of serious illness and death in all countries," he continued.
Thus, the WHO representative called on the wealthiest countries that ordered millions of doses of vaccines against coronavirus, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, to share a part of these vaccines with COVAX, so that it can redistribute them. them to the poorest countries.
The wealthiest nations have been accused of “accumulating” more vaccines than they need, although the supply of these drugs is still in its early days, since mass inoculation initiatives - which started in November, in some countries, and December in Europe - are still mainly in their first distribution stage.