The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for a full commitment to COVAX – the global vaccine-sharing scheme.
Speaking at a WHO executive board session, the health organisation’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said it was not fair for younger, healthy people in richer nations to get injections before vulnerable people in poorer countries.
Development Diaries understands that China, India, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States have all developed Covid vaccines.
He said more than 39 million vaccine doses had been given in 49 richer countries – but one poor nation had only 25 doses.
‘I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries’, he said.
It is understood that more than 180 countries have so far signed up to the COVAX initiative.
‘My challenge to all member states is to ensure that by the time World Health Day arrives on 7 April, Covid-19 vaccines are being administered in every country, as a symbol of hope for overcoming both the pandemic and the inequalities that lie at the root of so many global health challenges’, the WHO chief said.
Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) has purchased 270 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for the continent from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, through the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson and Johnson.
The AU Chairman, President Cyril Ramaphosa, said at least 50 million of the doses will be available in the months of April to June and the rest will be delivered before the end of 2021.
The purchase agreements, according to the continental body, were negotiated by the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team established by the African Union.
‘From the onset of this pandemic, our focus as a continent has been on collaboration and collective effort. We have held steadfastly to the principle that no country should be left behind’, Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Photo source: Africa CDC