Low, middle income countries' access to Covid-19 vaccine crucial for economic recovery: WHO

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Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

New York [US], November 13 (ANI/Sputnik): The access of low and middle-income countries to vaccines against the coronavirus is important to fight the consequences of the pandemic, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday.

"As global public goods, COVID vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics must be available on the basis of equitable and affordable access for all, especially for health workers, the elderly and other at risk groups," Tedros said at a panel on COVID-19 vaccines at the Paris Peace Forum.

According to the WHO chief, this is not just a moral or a public health imperative but also an economic one, as it is in the interest of each and every country across the world.

"In our interconnected world if people in low- and middle-income countries miss out on vaccines, the virus will continue spreading and the economic recovery globally will be delayed. Equitable access is in the national interest of each and every country. Vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it; making vaccine work requires a broad collaboration, not just across sectors, but across partners. No country can address these challenges alone," Tedros added.

To ensure equitable distribution of equipment and materials necessary to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO, European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator in late April.

However, despite these efforts, the pandemic is still disproportionately affecting low-income countries as they lack access to vital equipment, including ventilators and protective equipment, and need more health care workers. The initiative by the WHO is not fully operating as needs more funding. (ANI/Sputnik)