WHO urges rich countries to share COVID-19 vaccine surplus with poor countries

According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, of the more than 900 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that have been administered worldwide today, only 0.3% are in low-income countries - a figure that French President Macron described as “unacceptable.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom - Photo: REUTERS

The calls were made by Mr. Tedros during the 1 st anniversary of the COVAX vaccine sharing mechanism on April 23rd. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony took place online, according to the Reuters News Agency.

French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and several other national leaders delivered speeches on the occasion of the event.

Speaking at the celebration, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that there is still inequality of access to the COVID-19 vaccine. He went on to state the view that rich countries should share responsibility with poorer countries because only then would the pandemic end soon.

COVAX, an initiative of who and the GAVI alliance, has delivered 40.5 million doses of all kinds of vaccines to 118 countries to date, aiming to provide 2 billion affordable doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021. To do this, the first important issue is cost.

According to Tedros, who's Accelerated Access to COVID-19 Response Tools (ACT-A) program is in need of at least $19 billion for 2021. "This figure is just a drop in the ocean of trillions of dollars that governments are using to stimulate the economy or huge revenues of vaccine manufacturers," WHO Director-General argued.

According to Reuters, this is not the first time Mr. Tedros has called for the responsibility of the rich countries. The head of WHO has repeatedly criticized the distribution of unfair vaccines and urged richer countries to share surplus vaccines to vaccinate health workers in poor countries.

In his message to the WHO event, French President Macron also raised this worrying situation. According to Mr. Macron, one in six Europeans is vaccinated, a little more than one in five in North America. But in Africa, which is home to many of the world's low-income countries, one in 100 people have recently received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is unacceptable,” Mr. Macron said emotionally, pledging to contribute to COVAX 500,000 doses of the vaccine in the coming months.

The French presidency also calls on the rich countries of the world to follow suit.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made a stronger appeal in the event. According to him, pharmaceutical companies should transfer mRNA vaccine technology to low- and middle-income countries without “intellectual property barriers.”

“We must join forces to challenge vaccine nationalism and ensure that protecting intellectual property rights does not cost people their lives,” Ramaphosa argued.

Bao Duy

 

Source: Youth

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