The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) urged COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to primarily supply their products through COVAX, an international collaboration program aimed at equitably distributing vaccinations around the world. He stated this, speaking at a briefing on Friday.
Currently, WHO is unable to receive the promised two billion doses through COVAX due to the fact that rich countries enter into bilateral deals with companies and buy vaccines.
According to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, 42 countries of the world are launching vaccination campaigns with safe and effective drugs, of which 36 are high-income countries and six are middle-income ones.
However, he noted, wealthy states have bought up most of the vaccines, and many - and even those that have joined COVAX - are entering into bilateral deals with companies to provide their populations with COVID-19 vaccines. This drives up prices for all buyers, which means that the most vulnerable people in the world's poorest countries will not be able to get the vaccine for the foreseeable future.
"Vaccine nationalism hurts all of us - no one wins," warned Dr. Tedros. He recalled that only universal vaccination can limit the possibilities of mutation of the virus: the new strains that have already appeared indicate that the coronavirus is trying to adapt to conditions so that it can be more easily transmitted from person to person.
"This is the usual behavior of any virus, but if we do not stop the spread through universal vaccination, we will help this virus achieve its goal," said the head of WHO. He called on all vaccine manufacturers to secure supplies through the COVAX program first, and countries whose vaccine stocks exceed their needs to immediately share the surplus with the international community. In addition, he urged governments and manufacturers to end bilateral deals for vaccine shipments to be marketed through COVAX.
WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank are helping countries prepare for a vaccination campaign - a program is being implemented in more than 100 countries. “We are at the ready, COVAX is at the ready, countries are at the ready. The time has come to distribute vaccines fairly, ”said Dr. Tedros.
At the same time, he noted that against the backdrop of good news about the effectiveness of vaccines, many forget about the need to follow precautionary rules in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Over the past few days, the highest number of deaths since the start of a pandemic has been recorded. And this happens because many have stopped following the recommendations of doctors. The virus did not fail to take advantage of this and began to multiply at an alarming rate, ”said the head of the WHO.
According to Dr. Tedros, breaking the rules adopted to combat a pandemic becomes a habit for one, then others follow his example, and as a result, the entire system of protection of society from infection collapses. “Everyone should understand that it is within their power to stop the virus,” he added. First of all, the WHO recommends not to meet - especially in closed rooms - with people with whom you do not live under the same roof.