Tuesday, July 20, 2021

In World Bank forum, Khairy lashes out at rich nations for ‘extremely immoral’ vaccine hoarding

He says Covax has been 'an abysmal failure' thanks to the conduct of rich countries in withholding vaccine supplies.

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Khairy Jamaluddin today took his condemnation of industrialised nations to a World Bank forum, accusing them of committing an “extremely immoral” act by hoarding much needed Covid-19 vaccines for the developing world.

The minister in charge of Malaysia’s massive vaccination programme said the World Bank had a responsiblity to address the problem.

“I think the World Bank has a responsibility to bring the voice of the developing world in raising what I think is extremely immoral – that is the hoarding of vaccines by the industrialised countries,” Khairy said immediately after reading a prepared speech during an online discussion on the World Bank’s latest edition of the Malaysia Economic Monitor report.

He said Covax, an initiative by global health groups supported by the World Health Organization to ensure vaccine equity for the success of Covid-19 immunisation programmes in developing nations, was an “abysmal failure” thanks to the conduct of rich countries in withholding vaccine supplies.

“I think the World Bank owes it to developing countries to be a strong voice for vaccine equity on the global stage, to remind rich advanced countries that what has taken place in the last few months has fallen short of respectable and responsible global leadership,” Khairy said.

His comments came even as the European Union’s envoy to Malaysia denied claims of vaccine hoarding by member states.

Khairy had earlier hit out at critics’ comparison of Malaysia’s vaccination rate with European nations, saying many of the vaccines were manufactured in the EU bloc and that hoarding had blocked the acceleration of vaccine supply to the rest of the world including Japan.

“Many vaccine factories are also located in Europe. So they are able to hoard much earlier.

“Meanwhile countries in Asia, including Japan which is a very developed nation, are well behind in their vaccination rate compared to Europe, the US, Canada and the UK,” Khairy had said.

Malaysia’s vaccination rate has grown by leaps and bounds since the immunisation drive started in late February, and is now among the top in the Asean region.

Yesterday, it reported another record in total daily vaccine jabs, with 235,623 doses given on June 21.

Yesterday, EU ambassador to Malaysia Michalis Rokas reportedly rejected allegations of vaccine hoarding.

“All requests from the Malaysian government regarding the distribution of vaccines to this country have been approved without any problems by the EU Secretariat,” he was quoted as saying.

He added that the bloc had approved five million doses of vaccines to be sent to Malaysia.

Khairy acknowledged donations of vaccines from some developed nations which Malaysia would receive.

“But this does not do away with what has taken place in the last few months, and that is the cornering of the vaccine market,” he added.

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