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G7's pledge falls short, COVID outpacing vaccine drive: WHO

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G7s pledge falls short, COVID outpacing vaccine drive: WHO
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The G7 countries' pledge to share one billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to poorer countries is not enough as the pandemic is outpacing vaccination drives, cautioned the World Health Organisation, as reported by The Guardian.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists that more than 10,000 people are dying every day, and these communities should get inoculated as soon as possible. G7's vow will be a big help but was too late, and too little as the required number of vaccines shots is more than 11 billion.

WHO puts a minimum target of 70% of the world population to be vaccinated before the next G7 meeting, and it requires 11 billion vaccine doses, which WHO believes G7 and G20 together could achieve.

Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders, a medical charity, questioned G7's sincerity in vaccine equity. Hu Yuanqiong of the charity asked for clarity on the number of doses donated by G7 and how much time G7 wants to fulfil their pledge. Also, observers like Ilona Kickbusch, founding director and chair of the Global Health Centre in Geneva, are sceptical. She tweeted that she would believe G7's efforts only when it increases its contributions to WHO.

Covax, a body charged to ensure equitable distribution of vaccine, has shipped more than 87 million doses to 131 poorer countries, far less than expected. According to the World Bank, the imbalance in inoculation among G7 countries and low-income countries is 73 to one.

Many observers want a quick resolve in the case of suspension of intellectual rights of Covid vaccine. Max Lawson, Oxfam's head of inequity policy, said that though G7 wants to vaccinate the whole world by next year, their actions care more about protecting the patents of pharmaceutical giants. Human Rights Watch agrees with that opinion and says that G7's failure to support a temporary waiver of global intellectual property rules is deadly.

Negotiation regarding the suspension of intellectual protections for vaccines and medical tools to defend against the pandemic started at the World Trade Organisation recently after months of debates.

WHO and its partners stressed the need for at least 16 billion US dollars to speed up production and access to Covid-19 diagnostics, treatment and vaccines. The figure is less than one per cent of annual global defence expenditure, says WHO's emergencies director Michael Ryan

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TAGS:G7 Vaccine drive WHO Covid 19 
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