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“The situation right now is dire.”: WHO on Vaccine Shortages in Poor Countries

Many rich countries are vaccinating the young generation and opening up societies for vaccinations because of which there is less risk of Covid-19, while the poor countries cruelly lack doses, the WHO said on Friday.

The situation in Africa is worsening as the new infections and deaths jumped by nearly 40% last week compared to the previous week, which is “so dangerous” as the Delta variant spreads globally, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Our world is failing, as the global community we are failing,” he told a news conference.

Tedros, who is an Ethiopian, requests the rich countries for reluctance to share doses with low-income countries. “The problem now is a supply problem, just give us the vaccines,” Tedros. “The difference is between the haves and the have nots which is now completely exposing the unfairness of our world – the injustice, the inequality, let’s face it,” he added.

“The level of paternalism, the level of the colonial mindset that says ‘we can’t give you something because we’re afraid you won’t use it. I mean seriously, in the middle of a pandemic?” WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan said.

COVAX, run jointly by the GAVI vaccine alliance and the WHO, has delivered 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 132 countries since February but has faced major supply issues since India suspended vaccine exports. “We have through COVAX this month zero doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, zero doses of SII vaccines (Serum Institute of India), zero doses of J & J (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine,” said Bruce Aylward, WHO senior adviser.

“The situation right now is dire.”

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