The World Health Organisation says the African continent has the lowest vaccination coverage at two percentage, noting that this is unacceptable.
In his opening remarks on Sunday at the G20 Health Ministers Meeting in Rome, Italy, the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, said many countries continue to face steep increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths, even though more than 5 billion vaccines have now been administered worldwide.
He, however, lamented that almost 75 per cent of those doses have been administered in just 10 countries.
“WHO’s global targets are to support every country to vaccinate at least 10 percent of its population by the end of this month, at least 40 percent by the end of the year, and 70 percent of the world’s population by the middle of next year.
“We can still reach these targets, but only with the commitment and support of G20 countries.
“As the largest producers, consumers and donors of COVID-19 vaccines, you hold the key to achieving vaccine equity and ending the pandemic.
“We can never allow a pandemic on this scale to happen again.
“And we can never allow an injustice like this to happen again.
“As you know, there have been several reports and reviews of the global response to the pandemic, including the report of the G20 High-Level Panel,” Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO chief urged the Health Ministers to first, support the achievement of WHO’s global vaccination targets, by swapping near-term delivery schedules with COVAX, fulfilling the dose-sharing pledges by the end of this month at the latest, and facilitate the sharing of technology, know-how and intellectual property to support regional vaccine manufacturing.
“Second, support the development and adoption of a legally binding international agreement on pandemic preparedness and response, as a commitment to future generations.
“And third, strengthen WHO by supporting initiatives that strengthen, not weaken, its mandate, and by committing to a historic reversal of the current imbalance between assessed and voluntary contributions,” he noted.