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‘Setting up for failure’: WHO calls on rich countries to share Covid-19 vaccines

‘Setting up for failure’: WHO calls on rich countries to share Covid-19 vaccines
A top adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) secretary-general has urged rich countries to share more vaccines with poorer ones, warning that shortages may result in a “failure” to fight the disease.

The recent devastating coronavirus spike and supply disruptions in India, one of the main vaccine producers, has created an estimated global gap of some 200 million doses, WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward said on Friday.

To make up for the gap, rich countries should donate their surpluses to poorer ones instead of using the doses on less vulnerable groups at home, Aylward argued, warning that failure to do so may threaten the global Covid-19 response.

“We don’t have enough confirmed doses from enough countries early enough to get the world on track to get out of this,” he said.

We are setting up for failure if we don’t get early doses.

So far, some 150 million doses have been donated by rich countries through the WHO-supervised COVAX distribution scheme. But Aylward believes such an amount is still insufficient.

“We are going to need twice that much and it’s got to be brought forward,” he stressed.

The still ongoing second wave of coronavirus forced Indian authorities to divert locally produced AstraZeneca shots to the domestic market. While the situation in India has seemingly improved in recent days, the country is still registering some 100,000 new cases of coronavirus on a daily basis.

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The export restrictions are expected to be lifted in the fourth quarter, when vaccines from other sources are set to arrive as well. “All of that is going to arrive at the same time,” said Aylward, as he praised the US for pledging to donate some 25 million doses earlier this week. Before the supply shortage is solved, the gap must be filled in by the richer nations, the adviser stressed.

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