Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyhesus Adhanom is continuously advocating for global coordination to the distribution of potential Covid19 vaccines, as opposed to what he terms “Vaccine nationalism”.
Dr. Tedros has said the purchasing of the vaccines as individual countries invites the same problems that were seen at the outset of lockdowns in March, when different authorities scrambled for masks, gowns and sanitiser.
According to him, once new vaccines, drugs and tests become available, demand will vastly outstrip supply and things will get worse.
“A COVID19 vaccine will be a precious resource. Unless we have an international plan to manage it fairly, there will be unnecessary price spikes, with unneeded hoarding in some places and life-threatening shortages in others. That suits no one’s interests”, he said in a report published on Friday.
Tedros opined that global coordination will ensure that the COVID19 vaccines are distributed on the basis of those who need it most.
“It also spreads a country’s risk, ensuring it has access to numerous vaccine candidates in case its preferred one doesn’t work, and is a faster return to normal life”, he said.
“No one nation has access to all the R&D, manufacturing and the full supply chain of essential materials and medicines. Hence, using finite supplies strategically and globally is in every country’s national interest, not an act of altruism.”
Further stressing that COVAX is the way forward towards the even distribution of vaccines, Tedros said the COVAX Facility is the agreed international mechanism for ensuring equitable global access to COVID19 vaccines, referring to the plan as “solidarity in action”.
“COVAX is a groundbreaking way to pool R&D & procurement risks across multiple vaccines. It enables countries to place collective bets on all vaccines in the portfolio & scale up the manufacturing capacity so that whichever works, all COVAX members can access them at the same time”, he said.
“The majority of the world has got behind COVAX, though some countries are still deliberating whether to join and a few are contemplating going it alone.
The more countries involved, the more likely it is that vaccines will be rationally distributed and COVID19 will be stamped out.
“Over the coming days, the decision that countries make about whether to share or keep an oversupply of #COVID19 vaccines will not only determine how fast the world comes out of the crisis, but also be a defining moment of this new decade and set a new norm for global cooperation.”