The WHO general director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said that the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure inequitable distribution of vaccines across the globe. Speaking in the WHO'S annual Executive Board Meeting, he urged the countries and manufacturers to ensure Covid-19 vaccines are fairly distributed to all the countries without any biases.
He reminded that around 39 million vaccine doses have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries with only 25 million doses "just 25 doses. Not 25 million, not 25,000, just 25" given to poor countries with a low income. He warned that the price of ignoring poor countries will be paid with the lives of thousands of people and a prolonged pandemic period coupled with human pain and suffering.
He said "Not only does this me-first approach leave the world's poorest and most vulnerable people at risk, but it's also self-defeating. Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering. Vaccine equity is not just a moral imperative, it is a strategic and economic imperative."
Ever since the vaccines were awaiting their emergency approvals, many of the countries had already ordered a massive number of doses, secured deals, increased the prices and were merely prioritizing their needs. Even the vaccine manufacturers focused on their approvals in the rich countries where the profits are highest.
Overcoming the inequities that lie behind global health challenges have always been a persistent problem. He urged a change to be brought about in this situation by calling on the countries to be transparent about their contracts and supply of vaccines including their prices and delivery dates. He asked the vaccine manufacturers to provide the WHO with full details regarding the regulatory review so that WHO can accelerate approvals and the vaccine's readiness for deployment.
He also challenged all the member states to ensure that vaccine administration takes place in all the countries by April 7 when World Health day is celebrated.