Speaking during the virtual media briefing on COVID-19 on Monday, Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the pandemic must motivate everyone to redouble efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, rather than it becoming an excuse for missing them.
“As the nations of the world meet virtually for the UN General Assembly this week, WHO has three key messages: First, the pandemic must motivate us to redouble our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, not become an excuse for missing them.
“Second, we must prepare for the next pandemic now. And third, we must move heaven and earth to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.”
“We continue to call on all countries to use every tool at their disposal to suppress transmission and save lives, until and after we have a vaccine.”
Ghebreyesus noted that from the beginning of this crisis, WHO has championed and supported the global effort to develop a vaccine.
“We have developed target product profiles, criteria for the prioritization of vaccines and a core vaccine trial protocol.
“We have engaged with vaccine developers and academics to standardize lab assays, animal models, and other normative methodologies.
“We are also helping to match manufacturers with trial sites,” he said.
The WHO chief said that there is no guarantee that any single vaccine now in development will work as the more candidates “we test, the higher the chance we will have a safe and efficacious vaccine.
“Almost 200 vaccines for COVID-19 are currently in clinical and pre-clinical testing. The history of vaccine development tells us that some will fail, and some will succeed.
“The COVAX Facility enables governments to spread the risk of vaccine development and ensure their populations can have early access to effective vaccines.
“Even more importantly, the COVAX Facility is the mechanism that will enable a globally-coordinated rollout for the greatest possible impact.
“The COVAX Facility will help to bring the pandemic under control, save lives, accelerate the economic recovery and ensure that the race for vaccines is collaboration, not a contest,” he said.
He added that the fastest route to ending the pandemic and accelerating the global economic recovery is to ensure some people are vaccinated in all countries, not all people in some countries.