The director-general of the World Health Organization said Sunday that unless countries use existing tools in the fight against the pandemic effectively, there will be no end in sight. “The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it,” Tedros said addressing World Health Summit, a global forum held in Germany.
“We have all the tools we need — effective public health tools and effective medical tools. But the world has not used those tools well,” Tedros said, addressing participants drawn from 100 countries online.
The barriers to fulfilling WHO’s goal of vaccinating 40% of every country’s population against the coronavirus are “politics and profit,” the WHO chief said, “not production.”
“The countries that have already reached the 40% target, including all G-20 countries, must give their place in the vaccine delivery queue to COVAX and the African Vaccines Acquisition Trust,” Tedros said. COVAX is the international collaboration established for the equitable distribution of the COVID vaccine.
The WHO official also urged vaccine producers to “prioritize and fulfil their contracts with COVAX and AVAT [the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust]” and become “far more transparent about what is going where.” AVAT is an African Union initiative focusing on providing access to COVID-19 vaccines across Africa.
He urged vaccine manufacturers to “share know-how, technology and licenses, and waive intellectual property rights.”
“We’re not asking for charity,” Tedros said,” we’re calling for a common-sense investment in the global recovery.”
A report in The Washington Post says Americans living abroad are struggling to receive COVID vaccines, while many of their U.S. counterparts are starting to receive booster shots after receiving their first two vaccine doses.
Marylouise Serrato, executive director of American Citizens Abroad, told the Post, “You have Americans who are filing and paying taxes, and a promise by the administration that all Americans will get vaccinated, and yet that whole community has been left out of the equation.”
The White House “has insisted that it has no special responsibility to vaccinate Americans abroad,” the Post reported. At least 9 million Americans are living overseas, the report added.
A surge of British COVID cases has Dr. Edward Morris, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, concerned the National Health Service may not be able to provide “the care it needs to” for women giving birth, according to a report in The Guardian.
Morris also said the COVID surge has also resulted in the creation of an enormous backlog of cases of women who have had to postpone gynecological treatments.
The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Monday that it has recorded 243.7 million global COVID infections and nearly 5 million global deaths. Almost 7 billion vaccines have been administered, according to the university’s data.