WHO official asks power players to end vaccine access gap

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    A top official at the World Health Organization described the huge gap between access to COVID-19 vaccines in rich and poor countries as the ”moral catastrophe of our time” and said it was up to about 20 political leaders, pharmaceutical CEOs and influential policymakers to change course.

    To date, more than 4 billion coronavirus shots have been administered globally, but only about 1 per cent of those have been in Africa. ”If we had tried to withhold vaccines from parts of the world, could we have made it any worse than it is today?” asked Dr Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser to WHO’s director-general, during a social media session on Tuesday. Those responsible include the leaders of countries contracting COVID-19 vaccines and the companies producing the doses, Aylward said, without naming them.

    We need these 20 people to lead the world’s effort to change this disgraceful effort,” he said, citing the WHO target of vaccinating at least 10 per cent of every country’s population, a goal that is likely to be missed. Aylward said WHO would be launching an appeal on Wednesday aimed at raising nearly USD 8 billion to help poor countries survive the surging delta variant.

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