UN Secretary General makes $8 billion plea to vaccinate 40% of world in 2021

pharmafile | October 8, 2021 | News story | Medical Communications  

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, appealed on Thursday for $8 billion to help equitably vaccinate 40% of people in all countries by the end of the year, as the WHO launched a plan that aims to inoculate 70% of the world by mid-2022.

In a joint news conference, he said: “Not to have equitable distribution of vaccines is not only a question of being immoral, it is also a question of being stupid.”

Guterres urged rich countries to deliver on their “desire to get the world vaccinated” at a summit in Rome later this month.

Currently, more than 6.3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered globally, but yet, over half of the world has not received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The WHO plan calls for countries with high vaccine coverage to allow expected deliveries of additional doses to first go to the COVAX global sharing programme and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) for distribution to where they are more urgently needed.

It also calls for the richer nations to fulfil and accelerate vaccine dose-sharing and donation commitments to COVAX, alongside new additional pledges.

According to African healthcare officials, less than 5% of Africans have been fully vaccinated.

Guterres said: “The whole UN system has shown leadership, but we have no power. The power is in the countries that produce vaccines or might produce them, and in the companies.”

The WHO programme also calls on drug makers to prioritise and urgently fulfil COVAX and AVAT vaccine contracts, be transparent about monthly production data and give clear monthly schedules for supplies to COVAX, AVAT and low and low-middle income countries.

In the conference on Thursday, there was also the question raised on the issue surrounding waving the intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and therapies at the World Trade Organisation.

Guterres said: “If we cannot use it now during this unprecedented situation, when do we use the TRIPS waiver? Why do we even, in the first place, have these IP waivers … if we’re not going to use it in such conditions?”

“Manufacturers and governments should really ask themselves this question”.

Kat Jenkins


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