WHO lashes out at unequal vaccine distribution

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Mar 22, 2021, 11:38 PM(IST)

World Health Organisation Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was "shocking" how little had been done to avert an entirely predictable "catastrophic moral failure" to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines

World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday lashed out and expressed serious displeasure at the growing gap in the number of COVID vaccines administered in rich and poor countries. It called it a "moral outrage" and said it was grotesque. 

The WHO tore into wealthy nations now vaccinating younger people at low risk of developing Covid-19, saying they were doing so at the cost of vulnerable people's lives in low-income countries.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was "shocking" how little had been done to avert an entirely predictable "catastrophic moral failure" to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines.

"The gap between the number of vaccines administered in rich countries, and the number of vaccines administered through Covax is growing every single day, and becoming more grotesque every day," he said, referring to the facility that ensures poorer countries can access Covid-19 vaccines.

"Countries that are now vaccinating younger, healthy people at low risk of disease are doing so at the cost of the lives of health workers, older people and other at-risk groups in other countries," Tedros told a press conference.

"The inequitable distribution of vaccines is not just a moral outrage. It's also economically and epidemiologically self-defeating.

"Some countries are racing to vaccinate their entire populations while other countries have nothing."

Tedros said rich countries might be buying some short-term comfort but added that they may be giving themselves a false sense of security.

He said that more the virus spreads more is the likelihood of new variants emerging.

"As long as the virus continues to circulate anywhere, people will continue to die, trade and travel will continue to be disrupted, and the economic recovery will be further delayed," he said.

The Covax global vaccine-sharing facility has so far distributed more than 31 million doses to 57 countries.

Read in App