The World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, voiced outrage that a number of rich countries were now vaccinating children and teenagers while poorer states had barely begun vaccinating health workers and their most vulnerable groups. Instead of offering jabs to young and healthy people, countries should give their doses to the Covax global vaccine-sharing scheme and thereby ensure that those most in need in all countries receive protection, he said.
Canada and the US are among countries that have authorised vaccines for use in adolescents in recent weeks.
In the face of this inequity in access, Tedros warned that the world would probably see more deaths this year than last, despite the arrival of vaccines. “We’re on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first,” he said. “Saving lives and livelihoods with a combination of public health measures and vaccination – not one or the other – is the only way out.”