The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the ‘me-first approach’ is leaving the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world at serious risk as richer nations scramble for Covid-19 vaccine supplies.
On Monday, World Health Organization chair Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claimed that “the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure” and the “prospects for equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines are at serious risk.”
Ghebreyesus urged nations around the world to share doses of the Covid-19 vaccines more fairly, allowing people in poorer countries to receive the much-needed resource.
“Not only does this me-first approach leave the world’s poorest and most vulnerable at risk, but it is also self-defeating,” Ghebreyesus told colleagues at the opening of the body’s annual Executive Board meeting.
“Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic,” he added.
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Access to Covid vaccines is becoming an increasingly apparent challenge for some of the world’s poorest nations. In December, the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention John Nkengasong called on rich nations to share Covid-19 vaccine supplies, after a number of Western countries ordered quantities far in excess of their need.
Nkengasong said African nations were struggling to secure access to vaccines, while other nations were hoarding supplies.
He pronounced it a “moral issue” and said that “some countries have got three to five times more than they need.”
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