UN chief criticises wealthy countries for stockpiling Covid-19 vaccines as poor countries go without


UN chief criticises wealthy countries for stockpiling Covid-19 vaccines as poor countries go without

  • The UN health agency chief said stockpiling of vaccines was a ‘moral outrage’
  • At least 36 countries are yet to receive any vaccines through the Covax initiative
  • £435 million  is needed to support vaccine delivery around the world

The World Health Organisation has warned of a widening gap between numbers of coronavirus vaccines in wealthy countries and those distributed to poorer nations through the Covax initiative.  

UN Health Agency Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: ‘The gap between the number of vaccines administered in rich countries, and the number of vaccines administered through Covax is growing every single day’.

He added: ‘The inequitable distribution of vaccines is not just a moral outrage, it’s also economically and epidemiologically self-defeating’. 

Tedros made the comments during a virtual conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates to address global immunisation on Monday. 

‘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.

UN Health Agency Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned over a widening gap between numbers of coronavirus vaccines in wealthy countries and those distributed to poorer nations through the global Covax initiative

UN Health Agency Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned over a widening gap between numbers of coronavirus vaccines in wealthy countries and those distributed to poorer nations through the global Covax initiative

Tedros had called for all countries to begin vaccinating within the first 100 days of the year, but as that deadline nears, 36 countries are still to receive a single dose

Tedros had called for all countries to begin vaccinating within the first 100 days of the year, but as that deadline nears, 36 countries are still to receive a single dose

Sixteen of those are scheduled to receive their first doses through Covax within the next two weeks, but the other 20 countries are expected to miss out

Sixteen of those are scheduled to receive their first doses through Covax within the next two weeks, but the other 20 countries are expected to miss out

It follows criticism by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of nations creating a ‘stockpile’ of Covid-19 vaccines, calling on them to share to help end the pandemic.

Health officials have rolled out more than 510 million coronavirus vaccine doses around the world.

Tedros had called for all countries to begin vaccinating within the first 100 days of the year, but as that deadline nears, 36 countries are still to receive a single dose.

Sixteen of those are scheduled to receive their first doses through Covax within the next two weeks, but the other 20 countries are expected to miss out.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has criticised nations for creating a 'stockpile' of Covid-19 vaccines and called on them to share to help end the pandemic

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has criticised nations for creating a ‘stockpile’ of Covid-19 vaccines and called on them to share to help end the pandemic

Health officials have rolled out more than 510 million coronavirus vaccine doses around the world (pictured, Somali's health minister Fawziya Abikar Nur received the vaccine)

Health officials have rolled out more than 510 million coronavirus vaccine doses around the world (pictured, Somali’s health minister Fawziya Abikar Nur received the vaccine)

The UN's children's agency on Monday urged wealthier countries to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines (pictured, Kyrgyzstan's minister of health and social development receives the vaccine)

The UN’s children’s agency on Monday urged wealthier countries to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines (pictured, Kyrgyzstan’s minister of health and social development receives the vaccine)

The UN’s children’s agency on Monday urged wealthier countries to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, adding that £435 million ($510 million) is needed support delivery around the world.

‘We need help,’ UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said at the virtual conference.

‘We need vaccine manufacturers to prioritise Covax and work to secure regulatory approval for fast, fair and affordable distribution. We need wealthier nations to donate extra doses through Covax.’

The Covax initiative was expected to deliver some 238 million doses around the world by the end of May, and has so far shipped more than 32 million doses.

The scheme is co-led by the WHO, the Gavi vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

The novel coronavirus has killed nearly 2.8 million people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019. 

The Covax initiative was expected to deliver some 238 million doses around the world by the end of May, and has so far shipped more than 32 million doses (pictured, an Afghan migrant receives a vaccine at a camp in Serbia)

The Covax initiative was expected to deliver some 238 million doses around the world by the end of May, and has so far shipped more than 32 million doses (pictured, an Afghan migrant receives a vaccine at a camp in Serbia)

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