WHO Chief Warns Of 'Vaccine Nationalism', Says It Will Prolong COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "It is natural that countries want to protect their own citizens first but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively."
World Health Organisation (WHO) chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Sunday asked various countries to express solidarity when the future coronavirus vaccine rolls out. He warned the countries of "vaccine nationalism" as the number of cases and fatality rates continue to surge across the world. The WHO chief said that "vaccine nationalism" will only prolong the pandemic and not shorten it.
Several countries around the world are experimenting and developing more than 100 vaccines in order to battle the contagious virus. While several vaccine candidates are presently being tested in clinical trials, out of them, around 10 are involved in the advanced "phase 3" stage which involves around tens of thousands of volunteers.
According to a report by India Today, the WHO chief stated that it was totally justifiable for a country trying to protect and save its own citizens first but he also requested them to use it effectively so that others do not fall in trouble.
During a virtual address at the opening of the three-day World Health Summit in Berlin, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "It is natural that countries want to protect their own citizens first but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively."
"And the best way to do that is to vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries. Let me be clear: 'vaccine nationalism' will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it," he added.
He also said that it is important to unite and continue the battle against the pandemic and ensure that the poor countries had equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Various companies involved in developing COVID-19 vaccines have already received huge orders from the European Union, Japan, the United States, Britain and other countries.
The speech was delivered by the WHO chief on the third straight day of record new infections around the world. According to the agency, over 465,319 cases were registered in a single day, on Saturday, which covers half of Europe.
According to the Johns Hopkins University, the virus has infected over 4.29 crore people and more than 11,52,978 have died, on a global scale. Around 2.88 crore people have recovered from the virus globally.
"This is a dangerous moment for many countries in the northern hemisphere as cases spike. Again and again, we have seen that taking the right actions quickly means the outbreak can be managed," Dr Tedros said.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres touted the pandemic as the "the greatest crisis of our times". Adding to that, he said, "We need global solidarity every step of the way."
"A vaccine must e global public good. Vaccines, tests and therapies are more than lifesavers. They are economy savers and society savers," Guterres stated.