World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Monday railed against the early stages of worldwide coronavirus vaccine rollouts, claiming that drugmakers are ignoring the neediest in favor of wealthier countries.
Tedros, speaking during the first day of WHO’s weeklong executive board meeting, pointed out that one country has received a mere 25 doses of vaccines thus far.
“Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country — not 25 million, not 25,000 — just 25,” Tedros said during the virtual conference, The Associated Press reported. “I need to be blunt: The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure.”
Though pleased by the science community’s speed in producing available vaccines so soon in the pandemic, the WHO chief said the distribution efforts so far have unfairly favored the wealthy.
“[I]t’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries,” he said, AP reported. “There will be enough vaccine for everyone.”
Vaccination efforts have been particularly slow in the United States, with only about 12 million doses distributed of the 31 million available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.