The World Health Organization has urged the rich nations to consider donating their COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX.
In a media briefing on Friday, Dr. Tedros, Director-General of WHO, said the moral catastrophe he had warned about in January was now unfolding.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) May 14, 2021
“In January, I spoke about the potential unfolding of a moral catastrophe,” Dr. Tedros said, “Unfortunately, we are witnessing this play out. In a handful of rich countries, which bought up most of the vaccine supply, lower-risk groups are now getting their vaccinations.
“I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but I urge them right now to reconsider and to donate vaccines to COVAX instead,” Dr. Tedros said.
Dr. Tedros was speaking a few days after the United States announced that it was beginning vaccination of children. U.S Regulators early in the week authorized the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in children between ages 12 and 15.
The WHO DG said that low-income countries did not have even enough COVID-19 vaccines for the health workers, and hospitals were getting overwhelmed with people needing lifesaving care.
Indeed, right now, only 0.3 per cent of the world’s vaccines are going to low-income countries. The wealthier nations, meanwhile, bought up more than 80 per cent of available doses.
“Trickle-down vaccination is not an effective strategy for fighting this deadly respiratory virus,” Dr. Tedros said.
In India, Dr. Tedros said that the situation remained concerning as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continued to rise. However, he said the organization had shipped thousands of oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies to India.
However, he said that other countries also needed emergency needs as COVID cases and hospitalisations increased. These included Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Egypt.
“COVID-19 has already cost more than 3.3 million lives, and we are on track for the 2nd year of the pandemic, to be far deadlier than the 1st,” Dr. Tedros said, “Saving livelihoods with a combination of public health measures and vaccinations and not the other way round, is the only way out.”