AstraZeneca denounces 'me first' approach to Covid jabs

AFP
London, United Kingdom Published: Jan 25, 2021, 08.23 PM(IST)

A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )

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AstraZeneca chief executive noted that among the world's most industrialised countries, only three per cent of health expenditure is spent on prevention

The boss of British drugs giant AstraZeneca, which with Oxford University has produced a Covid vaccine, denounced Monday a "me first" approach by some countries to obtaining doses.

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot, speaking at a virtual event for the Davos World Economic Forum, also attacked a lack of global preparation for the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

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The arrival of ground-breaking Covid-19 vaccines could have been grounds for celebrating, "but it unfortunately wasn't because there was a little bit of 'me first' behaviour", Soriot said.

"Globally, it is fair to say we could and should have been better prepared for this pandemic," he added.

Soriot noted however that "things are changing and international collaboration is emerging" over the coronavirus that has claimed the lives of more than two million people.

"There are many good examples of tremendous public-private collaboration actually in many countries," he said.

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Going forward, "the first thing to do is to invest in prevention and early detection and early treatment", Soriot added.

He noted that among the world's most industrialised countries, only three per cent of health expenditure is spent on prevention.

"Twenty percent of this 3.0 percent... is spent on immunisation and early detections of disease.

"So, essentially, we kind of tend to wait for people to become sick to try to address that, as opposed to early detecting (of) disease and preventing it."

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