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There is almost no COVID-19 vaccine left in stock for poor countries after wealthy nations ordered for billions of shots from the manufactures, World Health Organisation (WHO), said.
Reports say that wealthy nations ordered “enough shots to vaccinate their populations more than once” yet poor countries have not received enough or anything all.
During a media briefing, Dr. Tedros urged rich countries to ensure that before they procure more vaccines that their requests do not undermine COVAX deals.
The WHO Head commended several G7 countries and the European Union for committing $4.3 billion in new funding to finance the equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19 but added that money would mean nothing if there are no vaccines to buy.
“We still face a gap of at least 22.9 billion dollars to fully finance the ACT Accelerator this year. It’s important to note, however, that money is not the only challenge we face,”
“If there are no vaccines to buy, money is irrelevant. Currently, some high-income countries are entering contracts with vaccine manufacturers that undermine the deals that COVAX has in place, and reduce the number of doses COVAX can buy,” Dr. Tedros said.
The WHO boss said that even if they had the funds, they can only deliver vaccines to poorer countries if high-income countries cooperate in respecting the deals COVAX has done, and the new deals it is doing.
President Paul Kagame has added his voice to that of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to call out rich countries for undermining efforts to equitably distribute the New Coronavirus vaccine between wealthy and poor nations.
“This is hypocrisy & double standards we have always talked about. Just one of the many and consequential examples,” President Kagame tweeted in support of the WHO head.
In a recent opinion article published by The Guardian on February 7, President Kagame made a case for the African continent, arguing that until Africans get the Covid-19 vaccinations they need, the whole world will continue to suffer.
The Head of State said that Africa was not asking for charity, but fairness, as opposed to the hoarding and protectionism currently in play in the vaccine distribution.
“The current situation with regard to the access and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines vividly illustrates the decades-old contradictions of the world order,”
“Rich and powerful nations have rushed to lock up supply of multiple vaccine candidates. Worse, some are hoarding vaccines – purchasing many times more doses than they need. This leaves African and other developing countries either far behind in the vaccine queue, or not in it at all,” President Kagame wrote.
He said that there are worrying signs of vaccine nationalism in Europe and North America, pointing out that while pressures on political leaders to vaccinate all their citizens before sharing supplies with others is understandable, forcing smaller or poorer countries to wait until everyone in the north has been catered for is short-sighted.