Nearly 130 countries with 2.5 billion people have not delivered a single dose of vaccine, says WHO head

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At the agency’s regular briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters last Friday that, globally, the number of vaccinations has now overtaken the number of reported COVID-19 infections.

He said that is basically good news and a remarkable achievement in such a short timeframe. But there are almost 130 countries with 2.5 billion people, that have not delivered a single dose of vaccine.

“Once countries with vaccines have vaccinated their own health workers and older people, the best way to protect the rest of their own population is to share vaccines so other countries can do the same," said Tedros. “That's because the longer it takes to vaccinate those most at risk everywhere, the more opportunity we give the virus to mutate and evade vaccines.”

“In other words, unless we suppress the virus everywhere, we could end up back at square one,” he added.

One way to make poorer nations less dependent on the richer ones is to ramp up production of vaccines worldwide, he added, noting how the multi-national pharmaceutical company Sanofi announced it would make its manufacturing infrastructure available to support production of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Tedros called on other companies to do the same.

“We encourage all manufacturers to share their data and technology to ensure global, equitable access to vaccines.”

Earlier last week, the UN health agency reported that global cases were down for the third week in a row. Infections are down in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Russia, India, Italy and France, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

SOURCE: ASIA PLUS