Vaccine Nationalism Threatens to Prolong the Pandemic, Says WHO DG
The Director General of World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Gebreyesus noted that “vaccine nationalism thereatens to prolong the pandemic, and the emergence of Omicron enforces this reality.”
This was contained in a letter sent by the DG in response to the global call for action by scientists and researchers all over the world because “rich countries have been buying most of the world’s supplies without any strategy to fulfill the needs of low-income countries.“
In addition to limiting the access of Africans the global vaccine supply, WHO efforts to bring vaccine manufacturing to Africa are undermined by the drug industry. As at December 2021, 63% of people in high-income countries fully vaccinated, while 1.4% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated.
The DG acknowledged that 1% of vaccine production is currently located in Africa, and there is an urgent need to expand this capacity not only for the COVID-19 pandemic response, but to strengthen regional health security to better respond in the future.