Covid-19 vaccine sharing must become ‘reality’, with ‘aggressive and ambitious action’ needed to reach 40% coverage – WHO chief

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on the states and companies controlling the Covid vaccine supply chain to prioritize jabs for the global COVAX scheme in order to make the 40% coverage target a “reality.”

Speaking on Wednesday, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that while the weekly number of Covid fatalities continues to decline, “deaths are highest in the countries and populations with the least access to vaccines.”

Tedros urged states and corporations to prioritize their stash of vaccines for COVAX.

“We’re working with leaders to support the prioritization and planning that’s needed to make 40% coverage a reality with aggressive and ambitious action,” the WHO chief said, theorizing that it could be possible to reach this by the end of the year, or at least to be on track to do so.

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FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
WHO chief calls for worldwide pause on vaccine boosters until 2022, to allow ‘every country’ to inoculate 40% of population

Tedros added that this takes global cooperation, and said, “states that are rolling out boosters now are effectively preventing other countries from vaccinating their most at-risk populations.”

Supply is finite. In the end, this is a zero-sum game.

Earlier this week, the WHO’s vaccine advisory group said that people with compromised immune systems should be given a coronavirus booster shot, as “these individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe Covid-19.”

Last month, Tedros pushed for a global halt on Covid vaccine boosters until 2022, to enable countries to vaccinate at least 40% of their populations. He argued that surplus shots should instead be re-distributed to low-income nations as the WHO does not “want to see widespread use of boosters for healthy people who are fully vaccinated.”

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