The World Health Organization, WHO, says, $4.3 billion is needed immediately to support the mass procurement & delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments, and another $23.8 billion will be needed next year.
The Director-General WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, at the WHO’s regular news briefing in Geneva, lauded the recent development of the vaccines, including the Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European regulators.
Ghebreyesus called on the international community to put the same effort into the fair distribution of coronavirus vaccines, which appears to be on the verge of approval, as they did in creating them.
He said, “No vaccines in history have been developed as rapidly as these.
The scientific community has set a new standard for vaccine development.”
But he said the international community must set a new standard for access to these new vaccines and ensure they are available to the poorest nations in the world.
Tedros also said, “The urgency with which COVID-19 vaccines have been developed must be matched by the same urgency to distribute them fairly.”
The COVID-19 disease is caused by the coronavirus.
The WHO Director-General expressed concern that the poorest and most vulnerable nations will “be trampled in the stampede for vaccines.”
Earlier this year, the agency, in collaboration with other organizations, developed the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) accelerator program and the Cooperative Vaccine Development Group, known as COVAX, specifically to ensure any viable vaccines are made equitably available throughout the world.
Tedros said that 187 nations are now participating.
The Director-General said the programmes are a good investment for the world’s strongest economies.
He cited an International Monetary Fund report that said if medical solutions to the pandemic are quickly made widely available, it could increase income globally by $9 trillion in the next five years.
Tedros said contributing to the effort is not charity, it is the fastest way to end the pandemic and drive the global economic recover.