Tedros Ghebreyesus says there are currently 116 countries that are off track of meeting the target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the population by the middle of this year.
He made this known during the COVID-19 Global Action Meeting on Monday, WHO’s Boss said through the ACT Accelerator and the COVAX pillar and partnership with UNICEF, we are now overcoming some of the supply and delivery constraints we faced last year, with more than 1 billion vaccine doses shipped.
“In many countries, the issues are not primarily a problem of absorptive capacity.
We need to urgently support political leaders to accelerate the rollout of vaccines.
“We welcome the ongoing engagement of all countries represented here today, the lines of effort proposed by the United States, and continued alignment with the ACT Accelerator and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).
“Let me leave you with three requests.
First, to vaccinate the world, we ask all countries to support WHO’s global target of 70 per cent.
Second, to save lives now, we ask all countries to contribute their fair share to fully fund the ACT Accelerator, especially for the immediate need of US$ 16 billion.
Third, we need to support models such as the mRNA technology transfer hub in South Africa and its network of spokes around the world, to build capacity for controlling COVID-19 and other preventable diseases,” he said.
“I’ve just returned from South Africa yesterday, where I met with President Ramaphosa and saw first-hand the progress underway at the WHO mRNA vaccine technology transfer Hub.
The commitment from the government and the private sector is real.
“This historic initiative comes at a critical time.
In some countries, high vaccine coverage, combined with the lower severity of Omicron, is driving a false narrative that the pandemic is over.
“At the same time, low vaccine coverage and low testing rates in other countries are creating the ideal conditions for new variants to emerge.
“We can bring the pandemic under control this year – but we are at increased risk of squandering that opportunity,” he said.
Several countries haven’t met COVID-19 vaccination target – WHO