COVID-19: Low income countries received 0.6% vaccine manufactured– WHO

Director-General of World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that Omicron demonstrates why the world needs a new accord on pandemics.

He said the current system discourage countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores.

WHO DG stated this during the special session of the World Health Assembly.

He said, “We don’t know yet whether Omicron is associated with more transmission, more severe disease, more risk of reinfections, or more risk of evading vaccines.”

Dr Ghebreyesus stated that more than 80% of the world’s vaccines have gone to G20 countries while low-income countries, most of them in Africa, received just 0.6% of all vaccines.

“But a year ago, as we began to see some countries striking bilateral deals with manufacturers, we warned that the poorest and most vulnerable would be trampled in the global stampede for vaccines,” he said.

He added that vaccine equity is not charity as it is in every country’s best interest.

He warned that “No country can vaccinate its way out of the pandemic alone. The longer vaccine inequity persists, the more opportunity this virus has to spread and evolve in ways we cannot predict nor prevent.

“We understand and support every government’s responsibility to protect its own people.

“Now is the time for all countries to make the choice to invest in a healthier, safer and fairer future. Global health security is too important to be left to chance, or goodwill, or shifting geopolitical currents, or the vested interests of companies and shareholders,” WHO DG.

“We should all be wide awake to the threat of this virus. But Omicron’s emergence is another reminder, although many of us might think we are done with COVID-19, it is not done with us.”