The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has stated "the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure" as poor countries' access to COVID-19 vaccine remains a challenge.
"I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure-- and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world's poorest countries," Tedros said while addressing the virtual WHO executive board meeting,.
The WHO chief highlighted that the promise of providing equitable access to coronavirus vaccines sees a "serious risk". Ghebreyesus added over 39 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in a minimum of 49 high-income nations and that merely 25 doses have been administered in one lowest-income country. "Not 25 million; not 25 thousand; just 25," he said.
The WHO chief further said that such actions will not help in stopping the coronavirus spread but will "only prolong the pandemic." He added, "Vaccine equity is not just a moral imperative. It is a strategic and economic imperative."
Meanwhile, the COVAX facility, a global initiative formed jointly by the WHO and the Gavi vaccine alliance, is in advanced negotiations with the US-based pharma giant Pfizer to include the firm's COVID-19 vaccine in its scheme. The COVAX alliance is due to begin providing COVID-19 vaccines to poor and middle-income countries in February 2021. The alliance is expected to deliver 2 to 3 billion doses of the vaccine this year.