World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Sunday warned against “vaccine nationalism” and urged countries to show solidarity at the time of rollout, reported AFP. Over 100 vaccines are being developed around the world to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. A vaccine developed with University of Oxford has been widely seen as one of the leading candidates against the infection.
“It is natural that countries want to protect their own citizens first, but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively,” Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a video address at the opening of the three-day World Health Summit in Berlin. “And the best way to do that is to vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries. Let me be clear: vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it.”
The European Union, the United States, Britain, Japan and a few other nations have already placed bulk orders with the companies involved in developing the vaccines. Adhanom Ghebreyesus pitched for a united fight adding that the world needs to ensure that poorer countries had fair access to a coronavirus vaccine, AFP reported.
The WHO chief’s comments came on day the organisation reported a third straight day of record new infections across the world. The agency’s figures showed that 4,65,319 cases were registered on Saturday alone. Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 4.29 crore people and killed 11,52,978, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide recoveries crossed 2.88 crore.
“This is a dangerous moment for many countries in the northern hemisphere as cases spike. Again and again we have seen that taking the right actions quickly means the outbreak can be managed.”— World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres touted the pandemic as “the greatest crisis of our times”, AFP reported. “We need global solidarity every step of the way,” he added. “A vaccine must be global public good. Vaccines, tests and therapies are more than lifesavers. They are economy savers and society savers.”