The UN agency calls on each country to vaccinate at least 40% of the population by the end of this year and hopes to help ensure that 70% of the world’s population is vaccinated by the middle of next year.
At a press conference on COVID-19 and the equity of vaccination in Africa, where more than 1.2 billion people live, Mr. Ghebreyesus said that so far only two countries in Africa have reached the 40% target, the lowest rate of any region.
“This is not because African countries do not have the capacity or expertise to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine. This is because the rest of the world left them, ”he said.
Mr. Ghebreyesus explained that “this puts people at high risk of illness and death by being exposed to a deadly virus from which many others around the world are protected.”
Risks and solutions
In his opinion, the longer inequalities in vaccines persist, the more the virus will continue to circulate and change, the longer the social and economic disruption will continue, and the greater the likelihood of more options emerging that will make vaccines less effective.
Mr. Ghebreyesus pointed out several concerns: manufacturers favor bilateral deals, and many high-income countries restrict global supplies of Scottish produce.
He also highlighted a similar initiative set up by the African Union – the COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement Task Force known as AVAT.
This Monday and Tuesday, WHO officials met with AVAT leaders to “agree on the way forward.” Mr. Ghebreyesus said: “Inequality in vaccines is a solvable problem.”
Call by country and manufacturer
He urged manufacturers to prioritize COVAX and AVAT. He asked high-coverage countries to change their vaccine supply in the near term, immediately fulfill their dose sharing commitments and facilitate technology transfer.
The head of WHO also called on all countries and manufacturers to share information on bilateral deals, projections of supplies and supplies, and to accept all vaccines on the WHO Emergency List.
African Union Special Envoy for COVID-19, Streve Masiyiwa, also attended the briefing alongside Director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention John Nkengasong, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa. , Vera Songwe and WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti and others.