The difficult challenge of vaccinating poor countries against COVID-19

In his Urbi et Orbi Easter blessing, Francis repeated the request that he addressed to all the governments of the world at Christmas.

FRANCISCO
I ask the entire international community for a commitment to overcome the delays in the distribution (of vaccines) and their sharing, especially with the poorest countries.

There are two very big obstacles to achieving this goal. The first: getting countries with resources to give vaccines to countries that do not have the money to pay for them. That is why the COVAX program was created. 

It is promoted by the World Health Organization and large humanitarian foundations. The idea is to get the health and risk population vaccinated in developing countries. 

Covax’s goal is to distribute 2 billion doses by 2021 in developing countries. So far it has delivered only 36 million.

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS
Director General, WHO
“There is still a serious problem of equity and availability of vaccines. Last week, I made an urgent request to the countries, which pledged to save doses for the COVAX program

I also asked vaccine manufacturers to help countries deliver on what they promised. They have all listened but have not promised anything ”.

The first COVAX installment was on February 25. It took 600 thousand doses to Ghana. 

Countries like the United Kingdom or the United States had started the vaccination campaign two and a half months earlier, in the first half of December.

The second major obstacle to what the Pope calls “internationalization of vaccines” is the internal situation of poor countries. 

For example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo received a shipment of vaccines on March 3. A month has passed and no one has touched them.

It is due to reasons such as lack of health personnel or the poor state of the roads. 

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS
Director General, WHO
“I know this is a difficult time for many countries as coronavirus cases and patient admissions to hospitals are increasing. But precisely when cases increase, it is the most important time to share vaccines equitably and protect health workers and communities at risk ”.

The Covid19 crisis is global. And either it is resolved in all countries, or it is not resolved.

A huge challenge, but also an opportunity to improve infrastructure and health quality in these countries. 

 

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