Well-Being Prevention & Cures

WHO leader blasts vaccine inequity on anniversary of COVAX plan

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Story at a glance

  • The World Health Organization said in a report Friday that the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be administered in the world’s richest countries.
  • Tedros previously denounced vaccine inequalities in March as “not just a moral outrage,” but as an issue that “it is also economically and epidemiologically self-defeating.”
  • “As long as the virus continues to circulate anywhere, people will continue to die, trade and travel will continue to be disrupted, and the economic recovery will be further delayed,” Tedros said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report Friday that the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be administered in the world’s richest countries. 

“Nearly 900 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, but over 81% have gone to high- or upper middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.3%,” WHO Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on the anniversary of the COVAX dose sharing facility. 

COVAX has shipped 40.5 million doses to 118 countries to date, and plans to secure 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, Reuters reported. A spokesperson for GAVI Vaccine Alliance, which co-runs the facility with WHO, told Reuters Thursday that COVAX is working to fix the problems caused by supply issues. 

“Anticipating these types of barriers is one of the reasons COVAX has sought to diversify its portfolio from the beginning,” the spokesperson said. “We are in conversations with other manufacturers of other candidates on supply schedules.”

CDC data shows more than 222 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S.


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Tedros also addressed the explosion of new cases in India, saying that it “serves as a devastating reminder of what the virus can do.” India reported more than 332,000 new cases on Friday. WHO estimates that a total of 130,027,370 vaccine doses have been administered.

Tedros previously denounced vaccine inequalities in March as “not just a moral outrage,” but as an issue that “it is also economically and epidemiologically self-defeating.” 

“As long as the virus continues to circulate anywhere, people will continue to die, trade and travel will continue to be disrupted, and the economic recovery will be further delayed,” Tedros said. 

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg discussed vaccine inequalities in a meeting with WHO last week, saying “those who are the most vulnerable need to be prioritized and global problems require global solutions.”

“It is completely unethical that high-income countries are now vaccinating young and healthy people if that happens at the expense of people in risk groups and on the front lines in low- and middle-income countries,” Thunberg added. 

There have been more than 3 million confirmed COVID-19 deaths worldwide, according to WHO data


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