WHO Foundation: Uneven distribution of vaccines will cost

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The CEO of the WHO Foundation said that the global economy will lose “trillions of dollars” if more Covid-19 vaccines are not delivered worldwide, according to CNBC.

Anil Soni, who became the Foundation’s first CEO in January 2021, said that “the governments of Europe and the West have a clear obligation to donate excess This year.”

The World Health Organization has set a goal for 70% of the global population to be vaccinated by mid-2022.

Speaking at the end of February for this week’s episode of CNBC’s “Equity and Opportunity” about vaccine equity, Soni said it was a “moral imperative” to vaccinate the world against Covid.

“We live in a world where we see the effects of deep, structural inequity over generations. This is an opportunity to do something very different and to show that history can be corrected. That we can achieve the moral victory of a fair response in which everyone, we all have the same value, to receive the same access to this life-saving technology “, said Soni.

“But from an epidemiological and economic point of view, the inequity of vaccines is self-defeating, the figures clarify this. We will lose trillions of dollars in the global economy if we do not get high vaccine coverage, because what you will have in the global supply chains are materials that cannot come from countries where restrictions have continued, high Covid transmission rates have continued -19. ”

Soni said that, even with vaccines, the spread of the latest variant, Omicron, has been “amazing,” and if large populations in the world remain unvaccinated, future variants that could be resistant to vaccinations could develop.

The WHO Foundation was established in 2020 to support the work of the World Health Organization in addressing the greatest global health challenges.

Soni told CNBC that he was proud of the “extraordinary progress” made by vaccines in the first two years of the Covid crisis. But he said the pandemic would not end until the global 70% target was reached and that little progress had been made.

Last week, the UN reported that although more than 10.5 billion doses of vaccine were administered globally, only about 13% of those in low-income countries were vaccinated, compared with almost 70% in high-income countries. .

“We have the ability to do this, we can make this happen, but we need to act very differently in the next few months to achieve this goal. We need to mobilize more resources, money to buy vaccines, we need to split doses, and critically we need to ensure efficient delivery in countries around the world, to go beyond the billions of doses that have been delivered to high-income countries. small to reach that 70% target, ”said Soni.

In 2021, the WHO Foundation launched the Go Give One fundraising campaign.

The campaign encourages everyone to contribute $ 5, with 95% of the money going to a single vaccine through the international initiative COVAX – led by WHO, the Coalition for Innovation in Epidemic Preparedness and the Gavi vaccine alliance with UNICEF delivery partner.

Soni said the campaign had raised $ 15 million so far, buying 3 million vaccines.

He also said that sharing production knowledge to produce vaccines is “important” in achieving vaccine equity.

“Producers in low- and middle-income countries in America, Asia, and Africa have the capacity to produce these products and are ready to make them,” he said. “A number of organizations, including the World Health Organization, are facilitating technology and information transfer, but we need those companies in the West, in Europe, in the United States to cooperate and see this as a gain, to see this which is an opportunity for them to invest in the kind of capacity in these countries, in the manufacturing industry, that they can simply meet. ”

When asked what he would say to those who are against receiving a vaccine, Soni said he was eager to engage in such conversations, ask them about their concerns, and provide more data and information about vaccine safety.

“Many vaccines have received conditional approval, not full approval, which does not mean they are not effective. It means that there is a regulatory process that requires a certain amount of data about the stability of a product on the shelf, in order to provide full approval, “he said.

With a number of countries recently lifting all Covid restrictions, Soni has warned that it is necessary to protect this freedom through vaccinations.

“We are at a time when we feel liberated and free. This is wonderful. But we have to protect that and the way we protect it is to make sure everyone is vaccinated, ”he said.