Vast inequities in accessing vaccines fuelling two-track pandemic, WHO chief says
Vaccine equity is the best way to control the pandemic, reboot the global economy, Dr Tedros says at India Global Forum.
Vast inequities in accessing vaccines are fuelling a two-track pandemic, said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organisaton, at the second day of the India Global Forum on Thursday.
“While some countries have reached high levels of vaccine coverage, many others don't have enough to vaccinate health workers, older people, and other at-risk groups. The pandemic shows the risk of relying on a few companies to supply global public goods like vaccines,” the Director General said in a sombre tone.
According to Our World in Data, Covid-19 vaccine has been administered to more than three billion people across the world. More than 852 million people have been fully vaccinated. However, there is a stark gap between vaccination programmes in different countries with some having vaccinated more than half of their population and some yet to report a single dose.
“The consequences of the resulting inequities in cases and deaths from Covid-19 globally remain high in many areas even as new variants of concern are emerging,” added Dr Ghebreyesus.
The development of safe and effective vaccines against Covid-19 in record time has given hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. But the vast inequities in access to vaccines and emergence of variants from different corners of the world is being seen as a cause of concern.
“When some countries cannot vaccinate, it's a threat to all countries. The WHO is calling for a global effort to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of the population of every country by September, at least 40 per cent by the end of the year, and at least 70 per cent by the middle of next year. Vaccine equity is not just the right thing to do, it is the best way to control the pandemic, reboot the global economy. To weaken the pandemic we will have to end it everywhere,” he said.
Vaccine doses remain relatively scarce globally. As per the Covid-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard, there are 19 vaccines approved for use by at least one national regulatory authority. The reported vaccine price range per dose varies from $2 to $40.
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