BY WHO,GENEVA,7TH OCT 2021-World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that inequality in access to coronavirus vaccines is still a big challenge to the fight against the pandemic.
In a press address on Thursday with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Tedros pointed out that about 75 per cent of the vaccines have been used by the ‘High- and upper-middle-income countries.
“High- and upper-middle-income countries have used 75 per cent of all Covid-19 vaccines produced so far. Low-income countries have received less than half of one percent of the world’s vaccines,” Tedros said.
He said that in Africa, less than 5 per cent of people are fully vaccinated.
“As you know, earlier this year WHO set a target for all countries to vaccinate 10 per cent of their populations by the end of September. 56 countries did not make it, through no fault of their own,” Tedros said.
Guterres said that without a coordinated, equitable approach, a reduction of the virus cases in any one country will not be sustained over time.
“For everyone’s sake, we must urgently bring all countries to a high level of vaccination coverage,” Guterres said.
He added that countries need to come together and make sure that there is a vaccination plan for everyone everywhere.
“We have no power to force companies or licenses…We cannot force countries to plan their vaccination programs taking into account other countries.”
Guterres added that the G20 countries have frequently spoken of their desire to get the world vaccinated. Their meeting later this month will be an opportunity to deliver.
He urged all the global stakeholders to step up, mobilise their resources and turn this strategy into reality.
“Vaccine inequality is aiding and abetting the Covid-19 pandemic. It is allowing variants to develop and run wild, condemning the world to millions more deaths, and prolonging an economic slowdown that could cost trillions of dollars”.