The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) called on Sunday for global solidarity in the distribution of any future vaccine against the coronavirus, against the backdrop of an explosion in the number of cases across the planet.
In a video speech at the opening of a three-day World Health Summit in Berlin, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the only way to overcome the pandemic was to do it together and make sure poorer countries have equitable access to a vaccine.
It is natural that countries want to protect their citizens first, but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we will also need to use it effectively. And the best way to do this is to immunize certain people in all countries rather than all people in certain countries., he said.
Let me be clear: vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it.
Scientists around the world are working to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, which has killed more than 1.1 million people. Dozens of vaccines are currently being tested in clinical trials, ten of which are at the most advanced stage of phase 3, involving tens of thousands of volunteers.
The European Union, United States, Great Britain, Japan and a number of other countries have already placed large orders with the companies creating the most promising vaccines.
But concerns are growing that poorer countries could be overlooked.
WHO has launched an international program, dubbed Covax, to help ensure equitable access to future vaccines, but has struggled to raise the necessary funds.
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