WHO chief criticizes ‘shocking’ global vaccine divide
The World Health Organization has criticized the “shocking imbalance” in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a target of seeing vaccination programs underway in every country by Saturday would be missed.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, he said, “There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines,”
“On average in high-income countries, almost one in four people have received a Covid-19 vaccine. In low-income countries, it’s one in more than 500,” he said.
The Covax scheme was expected to provide at least 100 million jabs of coronavirus vaccines worldwide by the end of March. However, only 38 million jabs have been delivered so far.
He said, “We hope to be able to catch up during April and May.”
Tedros also criticized countries that have applied for their own vaccine deals outside of the Covax scheme. He said, “Some countries and companies plan to do their own bilateral vaccine donations, bypassing Covax for their own political or commercial reasons,”
“These bilateral arrangements run the risk of fanning the flames of vaccine inequity,” he added. “Scarcity of supply is driving vaccine nationalism.”
Thirty-eight million doses have been delivered to around 100 countries under the Covax scheme.
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