Health

WHO: The poor are vulnerable to being ‘trampled’ in the vaccine race


SwitzerlandWorld Health Organization director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus warned the poor were at risk of being “trampled” when rich countries scrambled for supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking at the UN online summit on December 4, Tedros said the world is seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel” in a “unprecedented” crisis that lasted for nearly a year.

“But let me be clear. We cannot accept a world in which the poor and the underprivileged are trampled by the rich and powerful in the fight for vaccines,” Tedros said.

“This is a global crisis and the solutions must be shared fairly. Vaccines must be a commodity for all mankind, not a minority, deepening inequality and becoming the reason for one.” the number of people left behind “.

He also warned the world is facing many challenges: “There are no vaccines for poverty. No vaccines for inequality. No vaccines for climate change.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, February 2020. Image: Reuters

Covid-19 has infected more than 66 million people, killing nearly 1.5 million people worldwide. In anticipation of the huge demand for vaccines, WHO set up a Covax program to ensure fair distribution of doses. Up to now, there are 187 participating countries.

The team aims to provide 2 billion safe and effective doses of the vaccine by the end of next year. However, the project is having difficulty mobilizing the necessary funds to distribute it to 92 low-income countries.

Tedros said it needs $ 4.3 billion to support the procurement and supply of vaccines and treatment tests. In 2021, the fund needs an additional $ 23.8 billion.

People in low-income countries may have to wait until 2024 to be vaccinated with Covid-19, according to the Dulle Global Center for Health Innovation in Durham, USA. The reason is that the European Union (EU) and five rich countries have pre-ordered about half of the projected vaccine supplies for 2021.

A research center at Duke University, Carolina, which tracks global vaccine purchases, estimates that 6.4 billion doses have been purchased and 3.2 billion doses are in the process of negotiation. Most of the injections go to rich countries, the team said.

Andrea Taylor, lead researcher, said that signed sales contracts and vaccine limits will be produced in the coming years, meaning “rich countries will have vaccines and poor countries will be left behind. after”.

The UK was the first Western country to approve the Covid-19 vaccine. The US and other countries are expected to accept approval this month, with mass vaccinations scheduled to begin early next year.

Bao Chau (Follow AFP, WSP, BBC)

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