Hinting that the inability of a few nations to vaccinate their people poses risk to other countries, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus calls for a global effort to vaccinate at least 40% of populations of all countries by the end of this year
World Health Organisation chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday urged countries, that so far have failed to completely vaccinate their people against COVID-19, to at least inoculate 10 per of their population by the end of September this year.
“Vast inequities in the access to vaccines are fuelling a two-track pandemic. While some countries have reached a high level of coverage, many others don’t have enough to vaccinate health workers, older people and other at-risk groups,” Ghebreyesus said in a virtual address to India Global Forum.
Stating that the inability of some countries to vaccinate their population is a threat to other countries, Ghebreyesus called for a global effort to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of the population of every country by September, at least 40 per cent by the end of the year, and at least 70 per cent by the middle of next year.
“Vaccine equity is not just the right thing to do. It’s the best way to control the pandemic and reboot the global economy,” the WHO chief said as he warned that “until we end the pandemic everywhere, we will not end it anywhere.”
A recent UN report said that COVID-19 vaccination rates were uneven across countries, ranging from below 1 per cent of the population in some countries to above 60 per cent in others.
The UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme has faced a slow start to its campaign, as richer nations have locked up billions of doses through contracts directly with drug manufacturers. The COVAX has distributed just 81 million doses globally and parts of the world, particularly in Africa. Last month, the G7 consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US pledged over 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s poorest countries by the end of next year.
According to Johns Hopkins University, globally COVID-19 has infected over 18.2 crore people and claimed nearly 40 lakh lives. India has recorded more than 3 crore coronavirus cases and registered nearly 400,000 deaths due to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic last year. The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India has gone past 33.54 crore, including more than 25.14 lakh jabs given on Wednesday.
(With inputs from agencies)