GENEVA, January 27. / TASS /. The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adanom Ghebreyesus believes that equal access to drugs for coronavirus on the planet is under threat, since vaccination is now being carried out in a small group of countries, primarily rich, while countries with low per capita incomes are not have the opportunity to start vaccinations. He said this, speaking on Wednesday by telecom at the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held in Strasbourg.
“While the first vaccines have begun, the promise of equal access [to vaccinations] is at serious risk,” said the head of WHO. “Even if vaccines give hope to people in rich countries, we now face a real danger that much of the world could stay overboard."
According to Ghebreyesus, "some states and companies are making bilateral deals bypassing [the international vaccine access mechanism] COVAX, pushing prices and trying to get ahead of the line." He recalled that immunization against COVID-19 is now being carried out in 50 countries, "almost all of which are rich states." At the same time, 75% of all vaccines are concentrated "in only 10 countries," said the director general of WHO.
"It is understandable that governments want to prioritize vaccinations of their health workers and the elderly. However, it is not correct that younger and healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated earlier than health workers and older people in poor countries," said the head of WHO … To make matters worse, he argues, most pharmaceutical manufacturers "prioritize regulatory approval in rich countries" while they do not prioritize submitting applications to WHO to include their drugs on the Emergency Recommended List. …
According to Gebreyesus, the spread of new varieties of coronavirus in the world makes the need to ensure equal access to vaccines even more urgent. A “me first” approach to vaccination puts “the poorest and most vulnerable people at risk,” he continued, adding that doing so “can only prolong the pandemic,” and “sharing” the vaccine is essential to overcome it. The head of the WHO drew attention to the "generous contributions" of European countries to COVAX, noting at the same time that this mechanism is still experiencing a shortage of funds in the amount of $ 2 billion. He recalled that some countries have reserved for themselves "more vaccine than they need" and therefore “it is imperative that COVAX receives these additional doses soon” rather than “many months later”. Ghebreyesus called on governments, pharmaceutical companies and the global community at large to take steps to ensure "vaccine equality" in the world.
WHO attaches great importance to the international COVAX mechanism, which involves 190 countries and economies. Under the terms of the program, high-income countries pay for the purchase of vaccines, thereby subsidizing so-called funded states in this area. According to the plans, within the framework of the mechanism, by the end of 2021, 2 billion doses of the vaccine should be produced and evenly distributed around the world.