The World Health Organisation (WHO) has castigated Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers for not prioritising COVAX and AVAT facilities in their distribution while hiding behind lame excuses.
COVAX – COVID19 Vaccines Global Access and AVAT – Africa Vaccines Acquisition Trust, facilities aimed at ensuring vaccines get to all corners of the world including the poorest countries.
However, manufacturers have been prioritising rich countries in vaccine distribution at the expense of the poor making it difficult for the global health authority to end the pandemic which has been ongoing for nearly two years now.
Wealthy countries are already giving booster shots to their populations while some of the poor nations are yet to administer first doses to their citizens.
Briefing the media on COVID-19 recently, WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged vaccine manufacturers to prioritise COVAX and AVAT going forward.
“We continue to hear excuses about why low-income countries have only received 0.4% of the world’s vaccines,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.
He noted that some low income countries cannot get the vaccines.
“One is that low-income countries can’t absorb vaccines. That’s not true. With the exception of a few fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable countries, most low-income countries are ready to go. The problem is simply that they cannot get the vaccines,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.
Dr Ghebreyesus added, “Another excuse from manufacturers is that low-income countries have not placed orders for vaccines. Most low-income countries are relying on COVAX, which has the money and the contracts to buy vaccines on their behalf. But manufacturers have not played their part. We still don’t know when the manufacturers will deliver.”
The WHO chief said it does not make sense for vaccines to be continuously sent to countries that have vaccinated a significant number of people while the poor are waiting.