Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Solving a Global Pandemic

 There had been ample debate and warning prior to the release of effective vaccines for Covi-19 yet nothing of substance was resolved about the problem facing the undeveloped and developing nations access to a vaccine. 

The world faces a "catastrophic moral failure" because of unequal Covid vaccine policies, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.  He said it was not fair for younger, healthy people in richer nations to get injections before vulnerable people in poorer states.

China, India, Russia, the UK and the US have all developed Covid vaccines, with others being made by multinational teams - like the American-German Pfizer vaccine. Almost all of these nations have prioritised distribution to their own populations. 39 million vaccine doses had been given in 49 richer states - but one poor nation had only 25 doses. Canada, in particular, came in for criticism, with the coalition saying the North American nation had ordered enough vaccine doses to protect each Canadian five times.

Dr Tedros said a "me-first" approach would be self-defeating because it would push up prices and encourage hoarding.

"Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering."

The WHO head called for a full commitment to the global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax, which is due to start rolling out next month. So far, more than 180 countries have signed up to the Covax initiative, which is supported by the WHO and a group of international vaccine advocacy groups. Its aim is to unite countries into one bloc so they have more power to negotiate with drug companies. Ninety-two countries - all of them low or middle-income - will have their vaccines paid for by a fund sponsored by donors.

"We have secured two billion doses from five producers, with options of more than one billion more doses, and we aim to start deliveries in February," Dr Tedros said.  The People's Vaccine Alliance coalition of campaigning bodies said that rich countries were hoarding doses of Covid vaccines and people living in poor countries were set to miss out. It said that nearly 70 lower-income countries would only be able to vaccinate one in 10 people.

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