Tedros Adhanom, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), expressed concern about vaccination disparities. He called on rich countries to donate doses to poorer countries through Covax before vaccinating children and low-risk individuals.
This comes amid warnings that the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic would be much worse than the first.
Although rich countries have already begun vaccinating low-risk populations, Adhanom states that poorer countries have just recently begun vaccinating health professionals, frontline employees, and people who are vulnerable to COVID-19. The actual scenario, according to the WHO director-general, is the “playing out of a religious catastrophe.”
“In a handful of rich countries, which bought up the majority of the supply, lower-risk groups are now being vaccinated. I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to Covax”
He states that hospitals in low- and middle-income countries are “being inundated with patients who need lifesaving treatment immediately.” Richer nations, which account for 16% of the global population, have now purchased 44% of all doses.
Just 0.3 percent of the 1.4 billion vaccine doses given in nearly 210 regions across the world have been administered in the 29 lowest-income countries.
In a statement, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that in the coming days, the COVAX Facility – the global COVID vaccine equity system – will produce the 65 millionth dose. That should have been the 170 millionth. By the time G7 leaders meet in the UK next month, and as a lethal second wave of COVID-19 sweeps through India and much of its South Asian neighbours, the shortage would have reached 190 million doses.