By Asmau Ahmad
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have made an urgent appeal for vaccine solidarity, noting that COVID-19 has shown that our fates are inextricably linked.
The heads of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, and UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, made the call in a joint statement posted on WHO website.
According to them, in the COVID-19 vaccine race, we either win together or lose together.
Ghebreyesus and Fore, however, called on leaders “to look beyond their borders and employ a vaccine strategy that can actually end the pandemic and limit variants.
“Of the 128 million doses administered so far, more than three quarters of vaccinations have been in just 10 of the wealthiest nations,” they said.
According to the UN officials, it is a self-defeating strategy that will cost lives and livelihoods and warned that it would also give the virus the chance “to mutate and evade vaccines,” while also undermining economic recovery.
“So that vaccine rollouts can begin in all countries of the world in the first 100 days of 2021,” the WHO and UNICEF chiefs said.
“It was imperative that health workers who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic in lower and middle income settings should be protected first.”
They also called for the COVID response initiative, known as Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT), to be fully funded, to help developing countries to deploy vaccines. “If fully funded, the ACT Accelerator could return up to $166 for every dollar invested,” the UN officials added.