WHO Chief: ‘Scandal’ of COVID Vaccine Disparity Must Stop

The head of the World Health Organization said Friday that every day, six times more COVID-19 boosters are administered than primary doses in low-income countries.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said in a press briefing that countries with the highest vaccine coverage “continue to stockpile more vaccines,” while “low-income countries continue to wait” for the shots.

“This is a scandal that must stop now,” Tedros said about the global vaccine disparity.

The WHO chief offered other stark realities of the COVID pandemic, including that, “Almost 2 million cases of COVID-19 were reported in Europe last week, the most in a single week in that region since the pandemic started” and that “the almost 27,000 COVID deaths reported in Europe last week represented more than half of all COVID-19 deaths globally last week.”

Tedros said COVAX, the vaccine-sharing scheme designed to provide COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, could help to alleviate the vaccine disparity, but it needs at least 550 million shots to achieve its goal of vaccinating 40% of every country’s population by the end of the year.

The WHO director general said the COVID vaccine crisis is not the only vaccine crisis the world is facing.

“A new report by WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 22 million infants missed their first dose of measles vaccine last year,” the WHO leader said, “marking the largest increase in two decades.”

Tedros also noted that Sunday is World Diabetes Day, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, an essential medication for diabetics.

“The scientists who first discovered insulin a century ago refused to profit from their discovery and sold the patent for just $1,” the WHO chief said. “Unfortunately, that gesture of solidarity has been overtaken by a multibillion-dollar business that has created vast access gaps.”

One in every 2 people who need insulin for Type 2 diabetes does not get it, according to Tedros.

“A new WHO report finds that high prices, low availability of human insulin, a market dominated by three companies, and weak health systems are the main barriers to universal access,” Tedros said. “WHO is working with countries and manufacturers to increase access to insulin for everyone who needs it.”

Source: Voice of America

WHO Chief: ‘Scandal’ of COVID Vaccine Disparity Must Stop

The head of the World Health Organization said Friday that every day, six times more COVID-19 boosters are administered than primary doses in low-income countries.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said in a press briefing that countries with the highest vaccine coverage “continue to stockpile more vaccines,” while “low-income countries continue to wait” for the shots.

“This is a scandal that must stop now,” Tedros said about the global vaccine disparity.

The WHO chief offered other stark realities of the COVID pandemic, including that, “Almost 2 million cases of COVID-19 were reported in Europe last week, the most in a single week in that region since the pandemic started” and that “the almost 27,000 COVID deaths reported in Europe last week represented more than half of all COVID-19 deaths globally last week.”

Tedros said COVAX, the vaccine-sharing scheme designed to provide COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, could help to alleviate the vaccine disparity, but it needs at least 550 million shots to achieve its goal of vaccinating 40% of every country’s population by the end of the year.

The WHO director general said the COVID vaccine crisis is not the only vaccine crisis the world is facing.

“A new report by WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 22 million infants missed their first dose of measles vaccine last year,” the WHO leader said, “marking the largest increase in two decades.”

Tedros also noted that Sunday is World Diabetes Day, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, an essential medication for diabetics.

“The scientists who first discovered insulin a century ago refused to profit from their discovery and sold the patent for just $1,” the WHO chief said. “Unfortunately, that gesture of solidarity has been overtaken by a multibillion-dollar business that has created vast access gaps.”

One in every 2 people who need insulin for Type 2 diabetes does not get it, according to Tedros.

“A new WHO report finds that high prices, low availability of human insulin, a market dominated by three companies, and weak health systems are the main barriers to universal access,” Tedros said. “WHO is working with countries and manufacturers to increase access to insulin for everyone who needs it.”

Source: Voice of America