The World Health Organisation (WHO) has accused some rich countries of hoarding COVID-19 vaccines thereby risking the COVAX programme which aims at ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines.
The COVAX programme aims to supply 1.3 billion vaccine doses to poor and middle-income countries this year. At a recent briefing, WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward said:
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Now, some countries are still pursuing deals that will compromise the COVAX supply. Without a doubt,”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said equity was essential for the world to weather the COVID-19 storm. He said:
We can’t beat COVID without vaccine equity. Our world will not recover fast enough without vaccine equity, this is clear.
We have made great progress. But that progress is fragile. We need to accelerate the supply and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and we cannot do that if some countries continue to approach manufacturers who are producing vaccines that COVAX is counting on.
These actions undermine COVAX and deprive health workers and vulnerable people around the world of life-saving vaccines.
Tedros also called for countries to waive intellectual property rules “now” to allow other countries to make vaccines more quickly.
Coronavirus was first reported towards the end of 2019 in China but its origins are not yet known.
According to John Hopkins University, 113 million people have contracted the coronavirus globally while 2.5 million have since died.
More: ZBC News