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Wealthy nations slammed for ‘scandalous inequity’ in Covid vaccines by WHO head

WHO chief slams wealthy nations for ‘scandalous inequity’ in Covid vaccines as he reveals ten countries account for 75% of all jabs administered

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned no country is ‘out of woods’ with Covid
  • More than 75 per cent of all vaccines had been administered in just 10 countries
  • It came as he set new targets for protecting people in the poorest countries 

A ‘scandalous inequity’ in vaccine distribution is prolonging the Covid-19 pandemic, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Monday that no country should assume that it’s ‘out of the woods’, no matter its vaccination rate, as long as the coronavirus and its variants spread elsewhere.

He said more than 75 per cent of all vaccines had been administered in just 10 countries.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Monday that no country should assume that it’s ‘out of the woods’

The COVAX facility, run by WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance, has delivered 72 million vaccine doses to 125 countries

The COVAX facility, run by WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance, has delivered 72 million vaccine doses to 125 countries

It came as the WHO boss set new targets for protecting people in the poorest countries of the world.

Speaking to the opening of the annual assembly of health ministers from its 194 member states, he said ‘the world remains in a very dangerous situation’.

Mr Tedros added: ‘As of today, more cases have been reported so far this year than in the whole of 2020. On current trends, the number of deaths will overtake last year’s total within the next three weeks. This is very tragic.’

‘There is no diplomatic way to say it: a small group of countries that make and buy the majority of the world’s vaccines control the fate of the rest of the world.’

The COVAX facility, run by WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance, has delivered 72 million vaccine doses to 125 countries and economies since February – barely sufficient for 1 per cent of their populations.

He urged countries to donate vaccine doses to COVAX to enable 10 per cent of the populations of all countries to be inoculated by September and 30 per cent by year-end.

This meant vaccinating 250 million more people in just four months, he said.

Scientists will test seven jabs in the trials which have already been ordered by the UK Government. Only GSK's Covid vaccine - which is progressing to stage three trials - has been excluded

Scientists will test seven jabs in the trials which have already been ordered by the UK Government. Only GSK’s Covid vaccine – which is progressing to stage three trials – has been excluded

‘This is crucial to stop disease and death, keep our healthcare workers safe, reopen our societies and economies,’ he added.

Mr Tedros also called on vaccine manufacturers to give COVAX the first right of refusal on new volumes of vaccines, or to commit 50 per cent of their volumes to COVAX this year.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for the WHO to be empowered to visit countries rapidly in case of outbreaks with the potential to spark a pandemic and to access data.

Mr Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in separate pre-recorded remarks to the assembly, called for the UN agency’s funding to be improved and backed the idea of a new international treaty to prevent pandemics.

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