Health & Wellbeing

WHO director “appalled” at inequity of COVID-19 vaccine distribution

WHO director “appalled” at ine...
The Director-General of the WHO has previously said it is shameful and unethical to see how unbalanced global distribution of vaccine supplies have been
The Director-General of the WHO has previously said it is shameful and unethical to see how unbalanced global distribution of vaccine supplies have been
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The Director-General of the WHO has previously said it is shameful and unethical to see how unbalanced global distribution of vaccine supplies have been
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The Director-General of the WHO has previously said it is shameful and unethical to see how unbalanced global distribution of vaccine supplies have been

The director of the World Health Organization has said he is “appalled” at the extent of vaccine inequity spreading across the world. Global vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX has reported it is falling short of its distribution milestones as high and upper-middle income countries continue to take most supplies.

Early on in 2020 a global collaboration called COVAX was launched to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for low-income nations. The effort is led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Dozens of wealthy nations signed on to the initiative, promising to donate large volumes of vaccine doses.

The initial aim of COVAX was to deliver two billion COVID-19 doses to 92 low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. A new supply forecast from COVAX is reporting it will fall short of that goal with only around 1.4 billion doses now expected by the end of the year.

“… the global picture of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable,” COVAX states in its latest report. “Only 20 percent of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have received a first dose of vaccine compared to 80 percent in high- and upper-middle income countries. In the critical months during which COVAX was created, signed on participants, pooled demand, and raised enough money to make advance purchases of vaccines, much of the early global supply had already been bought by wealthy nations. Today, COVAX’s ability to protect the most vulnerable people in the world continues to be hampered by export bans, the prioritization of bilateral deals by manufacturers and countries, ongoing challenges in scaling up production by some key producers, and delays in filing for regulatory approval.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, was extraordinarily critical of wealthy countries hoarding vaccine doses in his latest media briefing. He pointed out less than 15 percent of the billion vaccine doses promised by wealthy countries have been delivered while booster doses are already being distributed in highly vaccinated nations.

“Yesterday, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association said that G7 countries now have enough vaccines for all their adults and teenagers, and to offer booster doses to at-risk groups, and that manufacturing scale-up should now shift to delivering global vaccine equity, including dose sharing,” Tedros said in his latest briefing. “When I read this, I was appalled. In reality, manufacturers and high-income countries have long had the capacity to not only vaccinate their own priority groups, but to simultaneously support the vaccination of those same groups in all countries.”

In early August the WHO called for a global moratorium on wealthy nations administering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots until the end of September. Now, the WHO is calling for that moratorium to be extended until the end of the year so crucial vaccine supplies can be diverted to those countries still yet to receive first doses.

Tedros does note this moratorium proposition does not apply to booster shots for at-risk populations such as the immunocompromised. Instead, he says broad booster plans for otherwise healthy fully vaccinated adults is unnecessary and inequitable.

“There has been a lot of talk about vaccine equity, but too little action,” he says. “We don’t want any more promises. We just want the vaccines.”

Source: Gavi, WHO

3 comments
3 comments
aksdad
No one is "hoarding" vaccine doses. They are administering them to their own populations first as rapidly as they can. They spent billions to develop the vaccines, they should get first dibs. There is nothing "inequitable" about that. And those wealthy countries are giving doses to poorer countries in an act of charity. If you want priority for those countries, how about you cough up a few billion from the WHO or UN treasury going to questionable causes and put it to good use buying doses for those countries?
paul314
Vaccinating people in a pandemic is not an act of charity, it's an act of self-preservation. As we've already found out, the more cases worldwide, the greater the chance of evolution providing us with an improved virus strain that infects people more rapidly, infects people already vaccinated and/or kills more of those it infects. It's also an act of humanity, but definitely self-preservation.
Lamar Havard
Someone in another country can damn sure have mine.