Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General, has pointed out that low and middle-income countries are not yet getting access to COVID-19 vaccines, reported The Voice of America.
During a news briefing in Geneva, Ghebreyesus urged countries and vaccine manufacturers to restrain from signing bilateral deals at the expense of the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility.
“Rich countries have the majority of the supply,” the WHO director-general said. “No country is exceptional and should cut the queue and vaccinate all their population while some remain with no supply of the vaccine.”
Earlier this week, the WHO confirmed that the COVAX facility had already raised $6 billion of the $7 billion it seeks to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to 92 developing nations with limited or almost no means to buy vaccines on their own.
The international health body has urged vaccine manufacturers to provide it with data in real-time to expedite the roll-out.
Countries like the United States, Britain, Switzerland, Israel, and European Union members are currently at the front to get COVID-19 vaccine deliveries from companies including Pfizer and partner BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.
The novel coronavirus has reportedly infected more than 88 million people globally, according to a Reuters tally. Around 1.9 million have died of the virus.
The virus has spread to more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China’s Wuhan in December 2019.
As the numbers of coronavirus cases continue to increase in many countries in recent weeks, Tedros said people must adhere to restrictions and social distancing rules to curb its advance.
“The virus is spreading at alarming rates in some countries,” the WHO head said. “The problem is that not complying a bit becomes a habit. Not complying gives the virus opportunities to spread.”
COVID-19 vaccine deliveries under the COVAX facility are expected to start this month.