While 80 per cent of citizens in high and upper-middle income nations have had a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, that figure stands at just 20 per cent for those living below the top tiers, according to a joint statement issued by the United Nations and partner agencies, responsible for the multilateral COVAX initiative to provide equal access for all.
It’s a year since the innovative scheme was born, in a bid to guarantee timely access to everyone, regardless of their income, status or location, to life-saving jabs, as the pandemic gripped the world.
“Yet, the global picture of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable”, said the statement released on Wednesday.
“In the critical months during which COVAX was created, signed on participants, pooled demand, and raised enough money to make advance purchases of vaccines, much of the early global supply had already been bought by wealthy nations.”
In a news briefing in Geneva, World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reminded journalists of his call, a month ago, for a global moratorium on booster doses, at least until the end of September, in order to prioritise the vaccination of the most at-risk people around the world who are yet to receive their first dose.
“There has been little change in the global situation since then, so today I am calling for an extension of the moratorium until at least the end of the year, to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40 percent of its population,” he explained.
For Tedros, the world’s largest producers, consumers and donors of vaccines in the world’s 20 leading economies hold the key to vaccine equity and ending the pandemic.
“Now is the time for true leadership, not empty promises,” he said.
The WHO wants to support every country’s efforts to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of their populations by the end of this month, at least 40 per cent by the end of this year and 70 per cent of the global population by the middle of next year, according UN News.
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