Selin ATAY-TDO- “Vaccine nationalism” would only slow the effort to quash the pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday. Adhanom also called for vaccines to be used fairly and effectively.

Ghebreyesus said 78 high-income countries had now joined the “COVAX” global vaccine allocation plan, bringing the total to 170 countries, and the “number is growing”.

The WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance are leading the COVAX facility, which aimed at helping buy and distribute vaccination shots fairly all individuals in the world.

But some countries that have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join COVAX.

However, some countries like the United States, who secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, have rejected to join COVAX.

Without naming any specific country, “Vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it,” Ghebreyesus said during a WHO briefing in Geneva. 

“If and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively ... In other words, the first priority must be to vaccinate some people in all countries, rather than all people in some countries,” Ghebreyesus told in the briefing.

Director-General added that priority should be given to healthcare workers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus thanked Germany, Japan, Norway and the European Commission for joining COVAX.

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