‘Now real hope to end COVID-19 with vaccines’—WHO urges countries to set a new standard for access
Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on international community to set a new standard to access vaccines which have been tested and tried together with other public health measures to end the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
According to him “there is now real hope that vaccines, in combination with other tried and tested public health measures, will help to end the pandemic.”
The WHO chief’s remarks came after drug maker AstraZeneca said that its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with Oxford University, was up to 90 per cent effective, making it the third major drug company after Pfizer and Moderna to have reported late-stage data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
“The significance of this scientific achievement cannot be overstated. No vaccines in history have been developed as rapidly as these. The scientific community has set a new standard for vaccine development,” Dr Ghebreyesus added.
He called on the international community to set a new standard for access, as “the urgency with which vaccines have been developed must be matched by the same urgency to distribute them fairly.”
Worried that the poorest and most vulnerable countries would be trampled in the stampede for vaccines, WHO established the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator to support global efforts in developing vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, and has joined so far 187 countries in the COVAX facility to collaborate on the procurement and rollout of vaccines, ensuring affordable prices, volumes and timing for all countries.
According to the WHO chief, some 4.3 billion U.S. dollars is needed immediately to support the mass procurement and delivery of vaccines, tests and treatments, while additional 23.8 billion dollars will be needed next year.
“The International Monetary Fund estimates that if medical solutions can be made available faster and more widely, it could lead to a cumulative increase in global income of almost 9 trillion dollars by the end of 2025,” he said.