The head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom said that wealthy countries seeking more Covid-19 vaccines are undermining the Covax facility, which looks to ensure the world’s poorest are inoculated from the virus.
Adhanom stressed that the coronavirus could not be defeated if it wasn’t tackled everywhere in the world, as he pleaded with rich nations to ensure their bids for more vaccines did not affect Covax’s supply.
Billions of dollars have been pledged to Covax to ensure equitable and affordable access to treatment for the virus, with Tedros thanking G7 countries for recent “significant” donations, which now total $7.5 billion.
“Even if you have the money, if you cannot use the money to buy vaccines, having the money doesn’t mean anything,” Tedros said, at a press conference with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
G7 member Germany pledged to donate $1.82bn last Friday to Covax. But rich countries have also bought up billions of vaccine doses while the developing world is struggling to secure them.
Tedros said high income countries must make sure their additional vaccine requests don’t undermine Covax
“But I don’t think they’re asking that question and that’s why one thing that I would ask the high income countries is before they ask the manufacturers or the private sector for additional vaccines they should make sure whether their request affects the Covax deal or not.”
Tedros, who did not refer to any particular country, also underlined the importance of ramping up vaccine supply, “because with increased production, the pie is increased, then there is a better volume to share.
“Otherwise, with shortages, sharing is difficult,” he said. “And that’s exactly what’s happening now.”