Thursday, December 9, 2021

WHO warns virus quicker than vaccines

Global health leaders also warn that G7's pledge to share a billion doses is too little, too late.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday that Covid-19 was moving faster than the vaccines, and said the G7’s vow to share a billion doses with poorer nations was simply not enough.

Global health leaders also warned the pledge was too little, too late, with more than 11 billion shots needed.

Faced with outrage over disparities in jab access, the Group of Seven industrialised powers pledged during a weekend summit in Britain to take their total dose donations to more than one billion, up from 130 million promised in February.

“I welcome the announcement that G7 countries will donate 870 million (new) vaccine doses, primarily through Covax,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists.

“This is a big help, but we need more, and we need them faster. Right now, the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines.

“More than 10 thousand people are dying every day… these communities need vaccines, and they need them now, not next year.”

While people in many wealthy nations are enjoying a return to a sense of normalcy thanks to high vaccination rates, the shots remain scarce in less well-off parts of the world.

In terms of doses administered, the imbalance between the G7 and low-income countries, as defined by the World Bank, is 73 to one.

Many of the donated G7 doses will be filtered through Covax, a global body charged with ensuring equitable vaccine distribution.

Run by WHO, the Gavi vaccine alliance and Cepi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, it has to date shipped more than 87 million vaccine doses to 131 countries – far fewer than anticipated.

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