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“We need to prevent vaccine Nationalism”-WHO DG

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The Director-General of the World Health Organisation(WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called for global collective response to tackle COVID-19 pandemic


He stated that there is need to prevent Vaccine Nationalism by Sharing finite supplies strategically and globally in each country’s national interest.

He made this statement in his opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 on Tuesday,18th of August, 2020

His words; “While there is a wish amongst leaders to protect their own people first, the response to this pandemic has to be collective.

“This is not charity, we have learned the hard way that the fastest way to end this pandemic and to reopen economies is to start by protecting the highest risk populations everywhere, rather than the entire populations of just some countries.

“Sharing finite supplies strategically and globally is actually in each country’s national interest.

He stated that no one is safe until everyone is safe.

“No one country has access to research and development, manufacturing and all the supply chain for all essential medicines and materials.

“And if we can work together, we can ensure that all essential workers are protected and proven treatments like dexamethasone are available to those who need them.

“With PPE and tests, a collaboration between the public and private sectors meant supply was increased in order to support fair and equitable use of scarce products.

“As new diagnostics, medicines and vaccines come through the pipeline, it’s critical that countries don’t repeat the same mistakes.

“We need to prevent vaccine nationalism, he warned.

He therefore said it is for this reason, WHO is working with governments and the private sector to both accelerate the science, through the ACT-Accelerator, and ensure that new innovations are available to everyone, everywhere starting with those at highest risk.

Dr Ghebreyesus disclosed that since May, WHO has been in extensive consultations to develop a new framework to guide fair and equitable access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, for COVID-19 across all countries.

“These cross-cutting principles are key to the promotion of equitable access and fair allocation of these essential health products for the greatest impact globally.

“For example, once a successful vaccine has been identified WHO’s strategic advisory group will provide recommendations for their appropriate and fair use, he stated.

WHO DG said the allocation of vaccines is proposed to be rolled out in two phases.

“In phase 1, doses will be allocated proportionally to all participating countries simultaneously to reduce overall risk.

“In phase 2, consideration will be given to countries’ in relation to threat and vulnerability.

“Front line workers in health and social care settings are prioritised as they are essential to treat and protect the population and come in close contact with high-mortality risk groups.

He emphasised that initial data has shown that adults over 65 years old and those with certain comorbidities are at the highest risk of dying from COVID-19.

“For most countries, a phase 1 allocation that builds up to 20 percent of the population would cover most of the at-risk groups.

“If we don’t protect these highest risk people from the virus everywhere and at the same time, we can’t stabilise health systems and rebuild the global economy.

“This is what the first crucial phase of the vaccine allocation mechanism aims to do.

“We are all so interconnected,he added.

As a small example,he said, “vaccine developed in one country may need to be filled in vials with stoppers that are produced in another, using materials for the high-grade glass that is only available from yet another country.

“We will need to quickly manufacture billions of doses to reach all those who need the vaccine, which means hundreds of millions of glass vials and ways to transport them effectively.

“All this means, elite planning at the highest levels is needed right now to prepare to vaccinate and treat the world as new technologies come down the pipeline.

“As we accelerate the science, solidarity is needed to provide a joint solution to the pandemic, he noted.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus stated that “the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility is the critical mechanism for joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccines, which is why today I sent a letter to every Member State encouraging them to join.

Like an orchestra, he emphasised, “we need all instruments to be played in harmony to create music that everyone enjoys.

“One or two instruments playing by themselves just won’t suffice when the world is waiting and listening intently.

“We will work to bring the band together, to promote science, solutions and solidarity because we believe to our core that we do it best, when we do it together, he concluded.

About the author

Joseph Chukwuma Oputa

Joseph Chukwuma Oputa is the Managing Editor of Maslow Businessnews and Physicians News publications published by Maslow Business News Publications, Lagos, Nigeria.

Joseph Oputa is a proud Alumnus of the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State.

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