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WHO Chief Warns of 'Vaccine Nationalism,' 172 Nations Agree

  • The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. | Photo: EFE/Salvatore Di Nolfi

Published 24 August 2020

The vast majority of the world's nations—172—have signed onto a World Health Organization (WHO) global scheme designed to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine at the lowest price possible. 

As part of the COVAX plan, over 2 billion doses of the vaccine will be distributed worldwide by 2021, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. While most nations have already signed up, those who have not have until September 18 to confirm their intention to do so, and until October 9 to make their initial payments. 

"Vaccine nationalism only helps the virus. The success of the COVAX facility hinges not only on countries signing up to it, but also filling key funding gaps," the WHO head said. 

 Russia Officially Produces First Batch of COVID-19 Vaccine

The key to combatting the coronavirus is international cooperation, he affirmed, stating, "there is light at the end of the tunnel...together we can do it."

COVAX, which is co-ld by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world, according to the WHO website.  

While companies and research institutions in various countries have been developing vaccines for COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak, earlier this month, Russia became the first nation to register a vaccine with its regulator.

Alexander Gintsburg, the top Russian official behind the vaccine, told RT that the more than 3,500 people who have received the immunization show no severe side effects, even with the vaccine being authorized before finishing its Phase 3 trial. 

The WHO is currently considering nine candidates for COVID-19 vaccines, hoping to acquire and administer the doses to those at highest risk around the globe, including health workers on the front lines of the pandemic, who are "critical to saving lives and stabilizing the overall health system," he stated.

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