Monday, January 18, 2021
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WHO wants to accelerate rollout of Covid-19 vaccines

The Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus through a virtual briefing expressed his concerns regarding the rollout of the Covid vaccines and made it clear that WHO wants the process to be sped up. Tedros also grieved for the death toll nearing 2 million world-wide and urged all the countries to fulfill their pledges towards the WHO initiative COVAX, which aims for equal access to Covid-19 vaccines globally.

The COVAX initiative is directed to bring the developed and the developing economies at par and to provide the citizens all around the world an equitable chance at the vaccination drive. COVAX has promised all of its 190 participating economies confirmed access to its vaccine stock for their health workers and frontline warriors by the first quarter of 2021.

It also aims to reach the goal of vaccination for approximately 20% of the world population by the end of the year.

COVAX currently has 235 candidates for vaccine globally, out of which 63 are in their final stages i.e. Clinical Trials. The candidate countries for the same are the USA, Russia, Germany, China, and the UK. The most recent addition to the vaccine candidacy for COVAX is the collaborated efforts of Serum Institute of India and Oxford AstraZeneca’s Covishield.

The WHO chief voiced his concerns about vaccine nationalism and that global equitable access to vaccines will only save us from this pandemic. The Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Lofven, concurring with Tedros expressed his trust in the COVAX scheme by making strong remarks in its favor. He stated that equal access to Covid-19 vaccines is the only way of fighting the pandemic.

Speaking about vaccine nationalism he said, “This cannot be a race with few winners”.He also encouraged the vaccine manufacturers to provide the clinical data to WHO as soon as possible for the organization needs time to determine the safety of the vaccines and categorize them for Emergency Use Only.

Reflecting on the statistics of the caseload, globally the cases have crossed 90.8 million while the death toll has crossed the 1.94 million mark. The John Hopkins University’s Centre for System Science and Engineering provided the tally up till Tuesday morning and the global caseload stands at 90,872,905 and the death toll stands at 1,943,943.