WHO COVID-19 lead says US vaccine donations are ‘not enough’
Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 technical lead, said on Sunday that the coronavirus vaccine donations that the U.S. has made are “not enough” and other countries need to step up in order to help lower-income countries get vaccinated.
CBS’s “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan asked Kerkhove on Sunday why WHO’s COVAX program appears to be failing in its goals of providing vaccines to low-income countries, which Kerkhove attributed to a “combination of factors.
“It’s a matter of having enough production, it’s a matter of having the deals in place with manufacturers with the companies that are producing these vaccines to be able to get those to the countries who need them most,” she said.
Brennan noted that the U.S. has spent over $270 million and donated around 100 million vaccine doses so far to expand COVID-19 vaccinations in Africa. She asked Kerkhove why vaccines were still not reaching in people in need.
“Well, frankly, it’s not enough and we need it from more countries,” Kerkhove replied. “We are incredibly grateful for what the United States has delivered, but we need that from other leaders around the world. We can’t have enough.”
“Don’t get me wrong, what the United States is doing — we are very grateful for, but we need much more of it and we need it from around the world. You can’t protect only one country while the rest of the world suffers. It’s not how we are going to get out of this pandemic,” said Kerkhove.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly lambasted what he has described as a “vaccine apartheid,” criticizing wealthier countries for hoarding vaccines while lower and middle-income countries struggle to immunize their populations.