Covid vaccine still scarce with only 5% of global population jabbed: Experts
Countries must work together to bring this number to at least 60 per cent, an expert has said at a virtual summit in the UAE.
With only five per cent of the global population vaccinated so far, world experts are stressing the need for greater collaboration to speed up and equally distribute the Covid vaccines.
During a panel discussion at the virtual World Immunisation and Logistics Summit on Monday, Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), said current vaccination levels across the world are “far too low”, with only about 400 million people inoculated.
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“The best tool we have to stop the spread of the virus is the vaccine. The real question is what can we do to maximise the production of the vaccine?” he said.
“Nine vaccine types are available on the market globally. But the vaccine is still very scarce. This is the reason as to why only five per cent of the world population has received the vaccine. We need to get this number to at least 60 per cent.”
To get more people vaccinated as rapidly as possible, Hatchett said it must be ensured that the vaccine manufacturing firms have all the critical raw materials and equipment they need to scale up production and potentially support distribution companies like the Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium.
“We need to take the vaccine to as many people as possible so as to protect the vulnerable. It is only by fighting together that we would beat this virus,” he said stressing that developing countries need to develop new capabilities to cope with Covid-19 vaccine challenges. Rich countries, on the other hand, must cooperate in helping them out.
Hatchett added: “It is also important for people to cooperate with their governments to fight the pandemic, through adhering to precautionary measures and getting vaccinated. Every individual should go out and get the vaccine as soon as it is made available to them so as to prevent the new variants, if we shall be able to fight this pandemic.”
Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi (DoH), agreed that if nations work together in implementing safety measures and distributing the vaccines, the world will overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that 95 per cent of the world population that hasn’t been vaccinated yet receive the vaccine. We should all work together to remove all the obstacles that are slowing us down and find solutions to the challenges. Through cooperation and collaboration, we shall overcome these challenges,” he said.
Al Hamed noted that the UAE has worked tirelessly to ensure that the number of Covid-19 cases go down so that people can return to normal life. However, he also stressed that the safety of other nations is just as important, especially when international travel picks up.
Professor Jose Manuel Barroso, board chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has warned that if nations fail to control the pandemic at this stage, new variants could potentially continue to emerge.
“Many poor countries, especially in Africa and Asia, are lagging behind in the vaccination process because they don’t have the capacity to acquire, transport and distribute the vaccines,” he said.
“If we need to vaccinate 60 percent of the world population, more efforts are needed not only in sorting out production issues but also raising finances to ensure that the vaccines reach all parts of the world. Governments also need to collaborate more with the private sector to ensure that more and more people are vaccinated.”
Dr Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports and also Chairman Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transpor, said the UAE Capital was fully committed to deliver 18 billion Covid doses to different parts of the world.
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