WHO Responds to VODAN Africa Scientists and Researchers on Vaccine Inequality and Needs of Low-income Countries
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus has responded to the call by VODAN African researchers and other scientists on the apparent vaccine equality and a global strategy that includes Africa in the fight against Omicron outbreak.
According to the DG, WHO “Your letter raises critical issues of vaccine inequity and the need for global solidarity, of which I strongly agree and have been urging since the onset of the pandemic, and which the World Health Organization (WHO) and our COVAX partners are working tirelessly to address.”
In December 2021, the VODAN Africa researchers and scientists demanded a global action by writing a letter to Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President European Commission, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
These letters were crucial because the rich countries were buying up the world’s vaccine supply without any strategy to fulfill the needs of low-income countries. As of press time in December, “63% of people in high-income countries fully vaccinated, while 1.4% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated.”
The DG assured them of the Organization’s efforts in addressing this issue. He noted that vaccine nationalism has the capacity to prolong the pandemic
“Vaccine nationalism threatens to prolong the pandemic. The emergence of variants such as Omicron reinforces this reality. Going beyond the moral imperative, WHO continues to advocate for global solidarity, arguing that there are health and economic benefits from countries working in a coordinated manner to end this pandemic everywhere.
“Recognizing that only 1% of vaccine production is currently located on the African continent, we understand the urgent need to greatly expand this capacity, not only for the current pandemic response but to strengthen regional health security to better respond in the future”