COVID-19: WHO’s Tedros says ‘Vaccine nationalism’ would prolong coronavirus pandemic


Photo: The Hindu

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom called for countries around the world to unite forces to tackle COVID-19, explaining that “vaccine nationalism” would only slow the response to the pandemic.

Adhanom said that 78 high-income nations had now joined the “COVAX” global vaccine allocation plan, bringing the total to 170 countries, adding that joining the plan guaranteed those countries access to the world’s largest portfolio of vaccines.

The WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance are leading the COVAX facility. But some countries that have secured their supplies including the United States, have said they will not join COVAX.

Vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic,” Tedros told reporters at a WHO briefing in Geneva.

Tedros also thanked Germany, Japan, Norway, and the European Commission for joining COVAX.

A WHO spokesperson said that the organization does not expect widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 to be available until mid-2021, citing the need for rigorous checks on their effectiveness and safety.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said, “No vaccine is going to be mass-deployed until regulators are confident, governments are confident, and the WHO is confident it has met the minimum standard of safety.”

“These (vaccine candidates) need to go through the full Phase III trials,” she added, referring to testing that usually involves thousands of participants.

(Source – News18)

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