WHO Wants Less Talk, More Action From Rich Nations on Doses
(Bloomberg) -- The World Health Organization called on countries with high vaccination rates to swap their places in line and prioritize the delivery of Covid-19 shots to lower-income nations.
The WHO set out a strategy for countries to follow to reach a goal to inoculate 40% of the population in every nation in the world by the end of the year, and 70% by mid-2022.
The health body urged countries with high vaccine coverage to change their vaccine delivery schedules for the coming months to make room for Covax, which will ensure countries in need can receive doses and catch up. Manufacturers should be transparent on total monthly production and schedules for supplies to Covax.
“We’re calling for actions now -- we’ve heard the commitments, we’ve heard the talk,” Kate O’Brien, who heads the WHO’s vaccination division, said at a press briefing in Geneva on Thursday. Funding of about $8 billion will be needed to help low-income countries deploy the doses, she said.
Higher-income countries have used 75% of all the vaccines produced so far, while low-income nations have received less than half of 1% of the world’s shots, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO has been advocating for more equitable vaccine distribution for months, though it lacks the authority to compel countries to follow its guidelines. WHO officials also said intellectual-property waivers could be used in a controlled, limited way and on a temporary basis to prevent risks to IP in the future.
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