World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus said in an op-ed Friday that “rich and vaccine-producing” countries need to share more doses with the rest of the world to properly fight the pandemic.
“Of the 225m vaccine doses that have been administered so far, the vast majority have been in a handful of rich and vaccine-producing countries, while most low- and middle-income countries watch and wait,” Ghebreyesus wrote in The Guardian. “A me-first approach might serve short-term political interests, but it is self-defeating and will lead to a protracted recovery, with trade and travel continuing to suffer.”
The vast majority of vaccines administered so far have been in a handful of rich & vaccine-producing countries, while the rest of the world watches & waits. A ‘me first’ approach to vaccination won’t defeat #COVID19. My OpEd in the @guardian on why we need #VaccinEquity https://t.co/BQm3DwU8kS
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 5, 2021
The WHO leader highlighted the success of the organization’s Covax program in getting vaccines to developing countries like Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and Colombia. President Joe Biden’s administration has committed $4 billion to helping Covax, but press secretary Jen Psaki said recently the president would not be donating any vaccine doses to America’s neighbors until supply is high enough for all Americans to get one.
In his op-ed, Ghebreyesus praised India and some G7 countries for sharing vaccine doses or committing to do so in the future. China and Russia have made concerted efforts to distribute vaccines throughout Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, even if it’s to the detriment of their own populations. (RELATED: ‘Tailored To China’s Terms’: Fauci’s Deputy Had To Sign Beijing-Approved Confidentiality Form Before China Visit)
The United States has currently distributed more vaccine doses to its citizens than any other country in the world, by a wide margin. More than 54 million Americans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and the U.S. ranks 14th in the world in vaccinations per capita. (RELATED: The CDC Says COVID-19 Cases Are Rising, But That Isn’t The Whole Story)
The three vaccines authorized for distribution in the United States were all developed, wholly or in-part, by American companies. The U.S. government also invested heavily in Operation Warp Speed, which helped produce successful COVID-19 vaccines at a pace far faster than anticipated by the medical community.
Ghebreyesus did praise Biden for the deal brokered by his administration between Merck and Johnson & Johnson, which will allow the latter to significantly increase vaccine production in the coming months.
While Ghebreyesus did not specifically mention China in his op-ed, it has been one of the primary contributors to Covax so far. The WHO has been widely criticized for appearing to be too close to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and for coordinating with the CCP to conceal information about the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.