The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) slams rich countries at a press conference on Monday for vaccinating the less risky young category, while leaving poor countries with shortage of vaccine doses.Pointing out the egocentrism of rich countries,the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that this is ‘global failure’.
Tedros fears the dire situation in Africa, where deaths and diseases due to Covid-19 have risen by 40% since last week. COVAX, run jointly by GAVI vaccine alliance and the WHO, has supplied 132 countries with 90 million vaccines since February,but has faced massive supply issues since India suspended vaccine exports.
It is clear that countries have been buying huge vaccination supplies through bilateral deals with manufacturers and are vaccinating their entire population.Data shows that UK has so far administered vaccination of nearly 28 million adults from a population of 66 millions.Meanwhile, according to Our World in Data, some countries-Timor, Sierra and Yemen-have not been able to vaccinate even their vulnerable healthcare workers.
Tedros, who is Ethiopian, condemned countries who have shown reluctance to share vaccines with under-priveledged countries even in this dreadful situation. He juxtaposed the situation with the HIV/AIDS crisis,where an argument was drawn on how it was beyond the league of African nations to use complicated treatments. Tedros reciprocated with a bold answer by saying, ‘The problem now is a supply problem, just give us the vaccines.’
Tedros called out for help against this inequality and injustice, and urged the global leaders to join him.