The World Health Organization has expressed worry over modalities put in place for global distribution of coronavirus vaccines, adding that unfair distribution was poised to prolong the battle against the deadly virus.
It explained that for the world not regress on the gains earlier recorded against the virus, it was pertinent that governments and stakeholders across the globe avoid “catastrophic moral failure” in distributing COVID-19 vaccines.
WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the world was on the brink of failing the moral test that had pitched humankind against each other, appealing that equitable distribution of vaccines was the way to go in defeating the virus.
He urged countries and manufacturers to share doses more fairly around the world, adding that human lives must not be jeopardized on the altar of self-interest during such times the world is battling a common enemy in form of the respiratory killer disease.
The WHO boss maintained the prospects for equitable distribution are at “serious risk” just as its vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX aims to start distributing inoculations next month.
Speaking on Monday at the virtual opening of the body’s annual Executive Board meeting, he noted 44 bilateral deals were signed last year and at least 12 have already been signed this year.
“This could delay COVAX deliveries and create exactly the scenario COVAX was designed to avoid, with hoarding, a chaotic market, an uncoordinated response, and continued social and economic disruption,” he said.
Such a “me-first approach” left the world’s poorest and most vulnerable at risk, “ultimately these actions will only prolong the pandemic,” Ghebreyesus said.
The global scramble for shots has intensified as more infectious virus variants circulate. Tedros cited as an example of inequality that more than 39 million doses of vaccine have been administered in 49 higher-income countries whereas just 25 doses had been given in one poor country.