COVID-19 vaccines should be made public for global good: WHO director-general

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jul 21, 2020, 12:01 PM IST
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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there were indications that the Omicron-fuelled surge of Covid cases may have peaked in some countries Photograph:(AFP)

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Speaking during a press conference at WHO’s Switzerland headquarters, he asserted the importance of ensuring equal access for all

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said that political leaders around the world should try to make the coronavirus vaccines available to everyone “for the public good”.

Speaking during a press conference at WHO’s Switzerland headquarters, he asserted the importance of ensuring equal access for all.

"Fair distribution"

"For the fair distribution and specially access to the poor and those who cannot afford, the most important element will be political commitment, especially by our leaders. And with political commitment, of course, that's the only way you can get fair distribution”, he said.

He also referred to “worrying patterns” in countries whereby the privilege of the affluent. ”But one of the worrying patterns we see is some countries moving the other direction. And when there is no consensus on having a vaccine, a global public good, it could be actually be owned by those who have money and those who cannot afford it may not have access to the vaccines. Some leaders have already have called and stressed the importance of making, when available, a vaccine or therapeutics global public good," he said.

While further talking about the vaccine, he said that the vaccines must not be seen as “charity” and should indeed be seen as a product for the global public good.

Ghebreyesus further claimed that the WHO has formulated and finalised a vaccine distribution framework even before any official vaccine has been approved. Additionally, the WHO chief added that how the fair distribution of vaccines will benefit the recovery of global economy.

"The advantage of using fairness or access to also poor countries is the world can really be lifted up and lift itself out of this pandemic together, which can speed up the economic recovery and the world, unless it's opened up its major part, I mean unless the whole world is opened up a in this globalized world, it would be a delaying the economic recovery," said Ghebreyesus.

"Long way to go"

The emergencies chief of WHO, Michael Ryan said that the two new studies that offered new hope of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus on Monday are a “positive result” but warned that “there is a long way to go”.

“We now need to move into larger-scale real-world trials. But it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery,” Dr Michael Ryan said.

Ryan's comments came as scientists at Oxford University claimed their experimental vaccine had exhibited a protective immune response in hundreds of people who received the vaccine.