WHO Calls on All Nations to Begin Vaccination Programs Within 100 Days
By VOA News January 15, 2021
World Health Organization officials said Friday that they would like to see vaccination programs under way in every country in the world within the next 100 days, with frontline health workers and high-risk groups prioritized.
Speaking at the agency's regular briefing at its headquarters in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO emergency committee met this week and stressed the need for equitable access to vaccines around the world.
Tedros said the committee recommended use of the WHO-organized COVAX vaccine cooperative to ensure this is happening. The WHO's European division Thursday noted 95% of the vaccines that have been administered in the world so far have gone to 10 countries.
The WHO chief, who is from Ethiopia, said he knows what it is like to come from a continent where not all health services are available. He said AIDS drugs were available only to rich nations until international health advocates put pressure on manufacturers. Likewise, he said, low-income nations did not receive H1N1 drugs until that pandemic was over.
Tedros said that he went into public health to ensure this does not happen again.
"It is critical this momentum on equitable vaccine rollout continues in the weeks ahead," he said.
On the subject of COVID-19 variants that have developed around the world, Tedros said the WHO emergency committee called for a global expansion of genomic sequencing and sharing of data, along with greater scientific collaboration to identify and address the new strains.
Tedros said the more a virus spreads, the more it mutates, and preventing the spread of COVID-19 is the best way to stop the development of variants.
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