Saturday, September 25, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine: We’re Not On Track – Ghebreyesus

…As WHO seeks reversal to low-income countries

…Calls for moratorium on boosters

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a press conference on the situation regarding the COVID-19 at Geneva's WHO headquarters on February 24, 2020. - Fears of a global coronavirus pandemic deepened on February 24 as new deaths and infections in Europe, the Middle East and Asia triggered more drastic efforts to stop people travelling. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
The director-general, World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus. (Photo by Getty Images)

The director-general of World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, has said the organization is not on track on meeting its COVID-19 vaccine “Sprint to September” target.

Recall Ghebreyesus in late May, called for global support for a “sprint to September”, to enable every country to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of its population by the end of September.

Speaking during a media briefing on COVID-19 on August 4, 2021, he lamented that they were not on track more than halfway to that target date.

“When I issued that challenge in May, high-income countries had administered around 50 doses for every 100 people. Since then, that number has doubled. High-income countries have now administered almost 100 doses for every 100 people.

“Meanwhile, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people, due to lack of supply,” he said.

The WHO boss noted an urgent need for reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries.

“So far, more than 4 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally. More than 80 per cent have gone to high- and upper-middle income countries, even though they account for less than half of the world’s population.

“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” he stressed.

He called for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, to enable at least 10 per cent of the population of every country to be vaccinated, adding to make that happen, everyone’s cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines was needed.

He pointed out that the G20 has a vital leadership role to play as the countries that are the biggest producers, the biggest consumers and the biggest donors of COVID-19 vaccines, adding it’s no understatement to say that the course of the pandemic depends on the leadership of the G20 countries.

“One month from now, the G20 health ministers will meet, ahead of the G20 summit in October. I call on them to make concrete commitments to support WHO’s global vaccination targets,” he stated, even as he called on vaccine producers to prioritize COVAX.

He further called on everyone with influence – Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders, and every individual in their own family and community – to support WHO’s call for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September.

“At the same time, we must all remember that vaccines are not the only tool. Indeed, there is no single tool that will defeat this pandemic.

“We can only defeat it with a comprehensive approach of vaccines in combination with the proven public health and social measures that we know work,” he added.

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