"Vaccine equity is the challenge of our time. And we are failing," he said, as WHO statistics have shown that of more than 832 million vaccine doses that have been administered globally, over 82 per cent have gone to high- or upper middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.2 per cent.
"The inequitable distribution of vaccines is not just a moral outrage, it is also economically and epidemiologically self-defeating. The more transmission, the more variants. And the more variants that emerge, the more likely it is that they could evade vaccines," the WHO chief warned.
As for solutions, Tedros urged countries to immediately donate vaccine doses that are over their needs to COVAX, increase vaccine production by, for example giving voluntary license and waivering certain intellectual property provisions, and invest in local vaccine manufacturing.
He also urged all countries to implement an evidence-based combination of measures, including surveillance, testing, contact tracing, supportive quarantine, and compassionate care to stop the virus.
Meanwhile, the authorities still need to encourage people to take personal precautions, such as physical distancing, masks, hand hygiene, and ventilation, to keep themselves and others safe, he said.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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