A year after the novel coronavirus first began to spread around the world, the World Health Organisation says that the Covid-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency of international concern.
As the organization continues to fight the disease, its Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus has a stark warning about the distribution of vaccines against the virus. “More than 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries.
Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country. Not 25 million; not 25 thousand; just 25. I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries,” he said at a January 18 briefing.
He noted that vaccine equity is also a strategic and economic imperative, a point echoed by South African epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim on a televised scientific panel discussion.
Prof Abdool Karim said that the case for equitable distribution of vaccines is not just ethical but self-interested: the more the virus spreads, the more variants – perhaps more dangerous ones – emerge.