Coronavirus vaccine: WHO warns the world is on the brink of “catastrophic moral failure”

Several countries have already started mass vaccination of their population.

Photo: REUTERS / Courtesy

Anticovid vaccines, the great hope to end the pandemic, are not reaching everyone.

The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned this Monday of the enormous inequality in the distribution of the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and warned of serious consequences.

“I must be frank: the world is on the brink of catastrophic moral failure, and the price of this failure will be paid with the lives and livelihoods of the poorest countries, ”Tedros warned in the opening speech of the WHO Executive Committee, which meets over the next nine days.

The head of the WHO considered that it is not fair that healthy and young people in rich nations access the vaccine before vulnerable groups in poorer countries.

As an example, he explained that about 39 million doses of the covid vaccine had been distributed in 49 of the richest countries, compared to just 25 doses in a poor nation.

As of this January, China, India, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States have developed vaccines against the coronavirus, and others have been developed by multinational teams, such as that of Pfizer, a German-American collaboration.

Almost all of these nations have prioritized distribution to its own population.

A health worker shows the Russian vaccine that is supplied in Argentina.

A health worker shows the Russian vaccine that is supplied in Argentina.

The head of the WHO considered that the “me, first” strategy will be counterproductive since it will cause prices to rise and will lead to the accumulation of vaccines.

“In the end, these actions just prolong the pandemic, the restrictions necessary to contain it, and the human and economic suffering“He added.

The head of WHO called for a full commitment to the COVAX platform, coordinated by WHO to ensure equitable access to vaccines in developing countries with financial help from developed countries, which is scheduled to go live next month. .

“I challenge all member states to ensure that, by World Health Day April 7, vaccines against covid-19 are being administered in all countries, as a symbol of hope to overcome both the pandemic and the inequalities that are at the root of so many global health challenges ”.

As of this January, more than 180 countries had joined the COVAX initiative. Its objective is to unite the countries in a bloc so that they have greater power when negotiating with pharmaceutical companies.

A total of 92 countries – all of them low and middle income – will purchase the vaccines through a donor-sponsored fund.

“We have obtained 2,000 million doses from five producers, with an option for 1,000 more, and we hope to start with distribution in FebruaryTedros said.



Despite the inequalities, the CEO considered that it is not too late to reverse the situation.

“I call on all countries to work together to ensure that in the first 100 days this year, vaccination of health workers and the elderly is underway in all countries ”.

Last month, the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a network of organizations that includes Amnesty International, Oxfam and Global Justice Now, denounced that rich countries were accumulating doses of anticovid vaccines and warned that people in poor countries would be left behind.

The coalition noted that about 70 low-income countries they could only vaccinate one in 10 people.


Getty Images
Getting a vaccine with proven effectiveness is not enough to stop the pandemic, as it will be necessary to guarantee its distribution.

Canada, in particular, was heavily criticized; the coalition denounced that the country had requested enough doses of vaccines to protect every Canadian about five times.

In December, Canada’s Minister for International Development, Karina Gould, dismissed allegations that the country was stockpiling vaccines, noting that any debate about a surplus it was something “hypothetical” since the doses had not been delivered.

Gould assured that Canada was allocating US $ 380 million to help developing countries in their fight against covid-19.

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