COVID-19 VACCINE : The promise of equitable access is at serious risk

2021-02-20 08:21:35
COVID-19 VACCINE : The promise of equitable access is at serious risk

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opening remarks at the opening session of the 148th Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland

40 years ago, a new virus emerged and sparked a pandemic. Life-saving medicines were developed, but more than a decade passed before the world’s poor got access to them.

12 years ago, a new virus emerged and sparked a pandemic. Life saving vaccines were developed, but by the time the world’s poor got access, the pandemic was over.

One year ago, a new virus emerged and sparked a pandemic. Life-saving vaccines have been developed. What happens next is up to us.

Vaccines are the shot in the arm we all need - literally and figuratively.

But we now face the real danger that even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world’s haves and have-nots.

It’s right that all governments want to prioritize vaccinating their own health workers and older people first.

But it’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries.

As the first vaccines begin to be deployed, the promise of equitable access is at serious risk.

More than 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries. Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country. Not 25 million; not 25 thousand; just 25.

The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure. And the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world's poorest countries.

Source : World Health Organization


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