WHO chief says vaccine inequity and health inequity overall were biggest failures of 2021
The World Helth Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

The World Helth Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

Vaccine inequity and health inequity overall were the biggest failures of 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom.

Dr Tedros made the remarks in his first media briefing on COVID-19 for the year 2022.

"While some countries have had enough personal protective equipment, tests and vaccines to stockpile throughout this pandemic, many countries do not have enough to meet basic baseline needs or modest targets, which no rich country would have been satisfied with," he said.

"Vaccine inequity is a killer of people and jobs and it undermines a global economic recovery."

The WHO chief noted that is the situation does not change, 109 countries will miss out on the second WHO target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of their populations by the start of July 2022.

He also pointed out that there was need to ensure people who had not received any dose of the COVID-19 vaccines to obtain them before countries continue to administer booster jabs.

"The essence of the disparity is that some countries are moving toward vaccinating citizens a fourth time, while others haven't even had enough regular supply to vaccinate their health workers and those at most risk," Dr Tedros noted.

He issued two points that the world could follow in the short-term to end the acute stage of the current pandemic while preparing for future ones. 

"First, we must effectively share the vaccines that are being produced," he said.

"Second, let's take a 'never again' approach to pandemic preparedness and vaccine manufacturing so that as soon as the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines become available, they are produced equitably and countries don't have to beg for scarce resources," he added.

Dr Tedros also used the opportunity to urge governments to invest and equip public health and health systems with strong surveillance, adequate testing, a strengthened, supported and protected health workforce, and an empowered, engaged and enabled global population.

Search Trends