WHO: Tedros cites ‘moral catastrophe’ due to disagreements in vaccine distribution
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged the international community to take action to ensure a more equitable distribution of vaccines against coronavirus and said the world is “on the verge of a moral catastrophe” in through the uneven process of immunization. “Not only does this ‘me first’ approach leave the poorest and most vulnerable at risk, but it is also self-destructing,” he said at the opening of the entity’s annual Executive Board meeting. “These measures will only prolong the pandemic,” he added. Tedros commented that, to date, almost 40 million doses have been applied in developed nations, while only 25 have been distributed in just one poor country. “The recent emergence of new, more contagious variants makes the rapid and equitable distribution of vaccines even more important,” he stressed. The WHO leader also revealed that the Covax initiative, which aims to accelerate global immunization, must start delivering the first doses in February and will seek to deliver another 2 billion worldwide. “Some countries and companies continue to prioritize bilateral agreements, bypassing Covax, boosting prices and trying to break the queue,” he criticized. According to him, 44 such agreements were signed last year and 12 in 2021 so far. “This situation is aggravated by the fact that most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in countries where profits are higher, rather than allocating doses to WHO. This can delay Covax deliveries and create the scenario for which it was created to avoid: disorder, chaotic market, uncoordinated response and continuous social and economic problems “, he stressed. The Director-General of the Organization asked producers to let countries share doses of vaccines and urged governments to only use immunizers that comply “strict” international criteria for safety and effectiveness. “My challenge for all member states is to ensure that when world health day arrives in December, vaccines for covid-19 are already being applied in all countries,” he said.