Antonio Guterres, the UN Chief has called out the unequal distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Guterres classified rich nations hogging vaccines as immoral and stupid. He mentioned that hoarding the vaccine would choke off poorer countries’ access to vaccines risked undermining their own defences against the pandemic.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organisation mentioned that every country that had fully immunised more than 40% of its population was not doing adequately enough to stop the COVID-19 crisis, as they should be ensuring doses go to nations left wide open to the virus.
The World Health Organization also stated that they wanted 10% of the population in every country fully jabbed by the end of September; this being a target missed in 56 countries, “through no fault of their own”, said the organisation’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The UN health agency said 1.5 billion vaccine doses were now being manufactured every month – with less than one week’s production needed to reach the 10 per cent target.
Guterres told a virtual press conference alongside Tedros that, “Vaccine inequality is aiding and abetting the COVID-19 pandemic. It is allowing variants to develop and run wild, condemning the world to millions of more deaths, and prolonging an economic slowdown that could cost trillions of dollars.”He also mentioned that if the virus spread in areas with few vaccinated people, the greater the chances of a variant emerging that could become resistant to vaccines.
He went further to say, “All the vaccination effort made in developed countries to vaccinate the whole of the population, one, two or three times — all that effort will fall apart. And these people will not be protected. So not to have equitable distribution of vaccines is not only a question of being immoral: it is also a question of being stupid.”
Tedros mentioned that 6.4 billion vaccine doses had now been administered, pointing out that almost a third of the world’s population was fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
He furthermore went on to say, “those numbers mask a horrifying inequity. We stand on the precipice of failure” if vaccines are not immediately made widely available”.
According to Tedros, there were enough doses being produced with the aim of achieving the WHO’s next target of seeing 40% in every country vaccinated by the end of the year — provided they are distributed equitably.
Nigeria currently has a confirmed 207,219 cases of COVID-19 with 2,742 deaths. About 7,130,171 doses have been given and about 2,166,186 people have been fully vaccinated. This is 1.1% of the country’s population. The Nigerian Government sought to vaccinate 40% of its 206 million people by the end of the year. The remaining 60% would receive their vaccination by the end of 2022. With a little over three months left in the year, the country is not close to achieving its goal.
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