Wealthy countries should stop their “self-defeating” Covid-19 vaccine strategies and share their vaccines once they have jabbed their health workers and those most at risk, global health leaders have said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Unicef said that when countries have vaccinated their health and care workforce and their highest at-risk groups they should share their vaccines.This would mean that other countries can do the same, they said.
Almost 130 countries – with a combined population of 2.5 billion people – are yet to deliver a single vaccine.
Meanwhile, of the 128 million jabs delivered so far, three-quarters of these have taken place in just 10 countries.
In a joint statement titled “In the Covid-19 vaccine race, we either win together or lose together”, Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore and WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “Of the 128 million vaccine doses administered so far, more than three-quarters of those vaccinations are in just 10 countries that account for 60 per cent of global GDP.
The Joint Statement: “In the COVID-19 vaccine race, we either win together or lose together,” received from UNICEF in Dhaka on Thursday.
“As of today, almost 130 countries, with 2.5 billion people, are yet to administer a single dose.“This self-defeating strategy will cost lives and livelihoods, give the virus further opportunity to mutate and evade vaccines and will undermine a global economic recovery.
“Today, Unicef and WHO – partners for more than 70 years – call on leaders to look beyond their borders and employ a vaccine strategy that can actually end the pandemic and limit variants.”
The organisations have also called for vaccine manufacturers to allocate the limited vaccine supply “equitably”.
The statement adds: “We need global leadership to scale up vaccine production and achieve vaccine equity.
“Covid-19 has shown that our fates are inextricably linked. Whether we win or lose, we will do so together.”
Around the world more than 107 million cases of Covid-19 have been recorded and there have been more than 2.3 million deaths.