World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom voiced outrage over vaccine inequality. Adhanom called on countries to donate doses to poorer countries before vaccinating children and lower-risk individuals.
This follows after reports that the COVID-19 pandemic’s second year is set to be more catastrophic than the first.
Adhanom explains while rich countries are already vaccinating low-risk groups, poorer countries have barely begun vaccinating health workers, frontline staff and people who are vulnerable to COVID-19.
The WHO director-general refers to the current situation as the “unfolding of a moral catastrophe” playing out.
“In a handful of rich countries, which bought up the majority of the supply, lower-risk groups are now being vaccinated. I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to Covax”.
He explains that hospitals in lower- to middle-income countries are “being inundated with people that need lifesaving care urgently”. Richer countries – which makes up 16% of the global population – have already sued up 44% of all doses
Out of the 1.4 billion vaccine doses administered in approximately 210 territories around the world, only 0.3% have been administered in the 29 lowest-income countries, as per an AFP count.
Adhanom warns that if vaccine inequality isn’t addressed, the world would see more deaths in 2021 that the previous year..
“We’re on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first. Saving lives and livelihoods with a combination of public health measures and vaccination – not one or the other is the only way out.”
At the time of publishing, COVID-19 is affecting 220 countries and territories. The global caseload stands at 164,272,595, with the death toll at 3,404,279 and recoveries at 142,991,373
The US is the worst affected with 600,533 deaths from 33,747,439 cases. After the US, the hardest-hit countries are India with 278,751 deaths from 25,227,970 cases, and Brazil with 436,862 deaths from 15,661,106 cases.
France has 107,812 deaths from 5,881,137 cases while Turkey recorded 44,983 deaths from 5,127,548 cases. South Africa is currently 20th on the list, preceded by Czechia, Indonesia, Peru, Ukraine, Mexico, Iran, Poland, Colombia, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK, and Russia.
Quotes from AFP.