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WHO calls for equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines

  • Published at 12:32 pm January 16th, 2021
Germany 101 year old vaccine coronavirus
Edith Kwoizalla receives the first vaccination against the novel coronavirus, in Germany, on December 26, 2020 AFP

UN Secretary-General António Guterres urges countries to work together to end the pandemic and save lives

As Covid-19 cases spike in parts of Europe, Africa and the Americas, and new variants of the virus emerge in some countries, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for greater global collaboration in ending the pandemic. 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reported on the outcome of the latest meeting of the Emergency Committee on Covid-19, held online on Friday, at his weekly press briefing.

The committee issued a statement calling for upgrading national capacity for genome sequencing, and greater data sharing, in efforts to monitor and respond to changes in the virus.

"Health workers are exhausted, health systems are stretched and we're seeing supplies of oxygen run dangerously low in some countries," Tedros told the media at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on Friday.

"Now is the time we must pull together as common humanity and roll out vaccines to health workers and those at highest risk.'

Virus vs humanity

Prof Didier Houssin, the committee chair, underlined that scientific collaboration is essential to understand any Covid-19 variants.

"I think we are in a race between the virus, which is going to continue trying to mutate in order to spread more easily, and humanity, which has to try to stop this spreading," he said.


Also Read - Worldwide Covid-19 death toll passes 2 million


The Emergency Committee also issued recommendations on international travel. 

The statement said countries should not require travellers to show proof of vaccination or immunity at the present time "as there are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission and limited availability of vaccines."

Friday marked a solemn milestone in the global fight against Covid-19, as more than two million people have now died from the disease. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has also issued a strongly worded video message, urging countries to work together to end the pandemic and save lives.