WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called the COVID vaccines’ current unequal distribution a travesty.
Speaking as the world marked World Health Day, Dr. Ghebreyesus said that COVID-19 was proof of the need to create health equity.
“It is a travesty that in some countries, the health workers and those at risk groups remain completely unvaccinated,” he said on Twitter, “The effort to achieve vaccine equity will not stop this week.”
He made a rallying call to countries to share the vaccine doses and work with partners to boost the vaccine’s overall production.
“COVID-19 proves that Health Equity is the right way forward and is in everyone’s interest because germs don’t respect borders,” He said.
He went ahead and called on world leaders to invest in health care, including investing in production and access to rapid tests, oxygen, treatment, and vaccines between and within countries too.
Hoarding in the global north
The current distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has raised questions, as many countries in the global north are hoarding inoculation. This has left countries in the global south in a dangerous situation. This leaves them vulnerable to continued attack from new coronavirus strains.
The theme for World Health Day 2021 was building a fairer and healthier world for all. The theme came to be owing to the ravages that COVID-19 had caused to the world.
COVID-19, WHO said, had highlighted how some people could live healthier lives than others. The vaccine distribution has made that starkly evident.
Over 500 million vaccinated
The World Health Day, celebrated on April 7th each year, has seen close to 550 million people vaccinated against COVID-19. However, less than 150 million have gotten a second dosage of the vaccines. But countries in Africa and South Asia still lag even as wealthier nations vaccinate their populations.
This situation has led to many developing countries depending much on the COVAX facility and donations. These have helped but encounter logistical challenges as they are serving many countries at once.