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Vaccine nationalism must be prevented, says WHO director-general

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns against supply nationalism

World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned against vaccine nationalism, as countries across the world secure early access to promising COVID-19 vaccines.

In an address made yesterday, the WHO director-general called on all countries to work collectively to end the pandemic, by sharing finites supplies “strategically and globally”.

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

“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,” he added.

Ghebreyesus encouraged countries to take into account the WHO’s recommendation for equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, with doses to be given proportionally to all countries participating in its ACT-Accelerator.

The WHO also recommends that consideration should be given to countries in relation to threat and vulnerability, with front-line health and social care workers also due to be given priority.

“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,” said Ghebreyesus.

A number of countries have already begun to secure doses of a myriad of potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including the US, UK and European Union.

In the US, the government is aiming to deliver 300 million doses of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to the American people by January 2021 under its Operation Warp Speed initiative.

This includes deals made to advance and secure doses of vaccines being developed by Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca/Oxford University, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax and more.

The UK has also secured access to six different vaccine candidates as part of the government’s strategy to build a portfolio of promising COVID-19 vaccines.

This includes securing 60 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine candidate and 30 million doses of J&J’s shot.

Ghebreyesus also encouraged all member states to join the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility, a mechanism designed to ensure joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccine candidates.

“As we accelerate the science, solidarity is needed to provide a joint solution to the pandemic,” added Ghebreyesus.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

19th August 2020

From: Healthcare

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