In 36 days, some 28 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been injected in about 46 countries around the world, World Health Organization director of health emergencies Michael Ryan said on Wednesday.
Despite the start of vaccination campaigns, he was concerned about the speed of transmission observed in some countries, particularly because of new, more contagious variants.
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“We are entering the second year (of the pandemic) and it could even get even harder, when you see the rates of transmission,” he said during one of the regular question and answer sessions that the WHO organizes for the general public.
As for the vaccination campaigns, he regretted that they are mainly done by rich countries. “I think we are at 28 million doses of vaccine administered so far. Five different vaccines or platforms were used, ”said Dr. Ryan.
“Approximately 46 countries are currently vaccinating, but there is only one low income,” said Michael Ryan, while 38 of these 46 are rich countries.
“There are populations who want and need vaccines and who are not going to receive them unless, and until, we share better,” he said, adding “everyone must do more”.
WHO and the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) set up the Covax mechanism to distribute COVID vaccines to underprivileged countries, but the system suffers from a beggar-thy-neighbor tendency of rich countries and a lack of funding.
WHO’s goal is to deliver doses for up to 20% of the population of Covax participating countries by the end of the year. The UN agency hopes to send the first vaccines in late January or February.
The pandemic, which broke out in China at the end of 2019, killed 1,964,557 people, according to a report established by AFP on Wednesday from official sources.