Stockpiling Coronavirus Vaccine Threatens COVAX Supply: WHO

WHO warns rising COVID cases in Asia are 'just tip of the iceberg'

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 27 (APP): The World Health Organization (WHO), a UN agency, has said that countries that are seeking their own coronavirus doses from the drug companies by directly approaching them are disrupting the supply of the WHO’s global COVAX programme for developing countries.

“Now, some countries are still pursuing deals that will compromise the COVAX supply. Without a doubt,” WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

Despite repeated urging by the WHO and other United Nations agencies for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which includes a provision for a waiver of intellectual property on the vaccines, the world has seemed to lack cooperation and even shown serious resistance regarding vaccine equity, the WHO chief said.

“We can’t beat COVID without vaccine equity. Our world will not recover fast enough without vaccine equity, this is clear,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “We have made great progress. But that progress is fragile. We need to accelerate the supply and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and we cannot do that if some countries continue to approach manufacturers who are producing vaccines that COVAX is counting on.”

“These actions undermine COVAX and deprive health workers and vulnerable people around the world of Also on Friday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for improved access to COVID-19 vaccines in conflict-hit or impoverished regions. “I’m glad the UN Security Council has voted in favor of vaccine equity. And at the same time, if we’re going to take practical solutions, then waiver of intellectual property should be taken seriously,” the WHO chief said.

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