At the G20, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan calls for a vaccination swap in exchange for a fair share.
With 82 countries on the verge of missing a global immunization target by the end of the year, the World Health Organization’s president asked countries that have attained a 40% vaccination target to switch delivery dates with vaccine sharing facilities on Saturday.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told a G20 summit gathering in Rome that 7 billion vaccine doses against Covid-19 have been distributed worldwide, although he cautioned.
“Low-income nations, the majority of which are in Africa, received only 0.4 percent of those vaccines; over 80 percent went to G20 countries,” Tedros stated.
He explained that vaccination equity is not a charitable act, but rather something that is in the best interests of all countries.
“We appreciate your support for WHO’s targets of vaccinating 40% of the population of all nations by the end of this year and 70% by mid-2022,” Tedros said, noting that 82 countries are on the verge of falling short of those goals.
“For most people, the problem isn’t absorption capability; it’s a lack of supply.”
Tedros urged countries that have previously met the 40% target to swap vaccine supply dates with COVAX and AVAT, the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.
Covid-19 had claimed the lives of 1.5 million people when the G2O convened less than a year ago, and the toll has already risen to 5 million, according to the WHO leader.
“We beg you to encourage local vaccine production in Africa,” he said, urging countries who have pledged to give vaccines to fulfill their commitments as soon as possible.
He also asked with G20 countries to fully support the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, which will require USD23.4 billion over the next 12 months to get testing, treatments, and vaccines to those who need them most.
Tedros urged for support for a G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force that would be linked to a financial fund to help with pandemic planning and response.
The WHO director-general also asked the G20 nations to ratify a treaty or international agreement based on WHO’s constitution and invest in a stronger, better-funded WHO.
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