Wednesday, February 24, 2021

“The number of doses has been reduced”: WHO boss accuses rich countries of buying all vaccines


ACCUSATION – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday accused “certain rich countries of undermining” the Covax device, which allows the distribution of vaccines against Covid-19 in developing countries. “We can only deliver vaccines if rich countries cooperate,” he argued.

The production and distribution of doses of vaccine against Covid-19 continues to be debated. This Monday, the boss of the World Health Organization (WHO) accused, without citing them, “some rich countries to dig” the equitable vaccine distribution system, Covax, by continuing to approach laboratories directly to gain access to more valuable doses for their population.

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“Some wealthy countries are currently approaching manufacturers to ensure access to additional vaccine doses, which has an effect on contracts with Covax, and the number of doses allocated to Covax has been reduced to because of that “, criticized the managing director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a joint press conference by videoconference with the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

“Having the money doesn’t mean anything if you can’t use it to buy vaccines”

The Covax system was set up to try to prevent rich countries from monopolizing all the doses of vaccine that are still manufactured in too small a quantity to meet global demand. The Covax system includes a financing mechanism that should allow 92 low and middle income economies to have access to vaccines. But the shortage means that the first distributions to poor countries are not expected to take place until the end of the month, while in many rich countries, vaccination campaigns began in late 2020.

Responding to a question about the substantial commitments made by the United States, the European Union and Germany to significantly increase their contribution to Covax, the Director-General showed his frustration. “Having the money doesn’t mean anything if you can’t use it to buy vaccines”, he said.

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“We can only deliver vaccines to Covax member countries if rich countries cooperate in honoring Covax contracts”, he insisted, urging these countries, which he did not mention, to ensure that their behavior does not undermine the distribution system overseen by the WHO and the alliance for vaccines, among others. . And let go: “but I don’t think they are asking the question”.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier also pleaded for vaccines to be more widely distributed, for moral reasons but also because it is in everyone’s best interest to eradicate the virus quickly, to prevent variants, sometimes more dangerous, do not continue to flourish everywhere. But, he admitted, “Governments have first and foremost an obligation to their people”.

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