Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has spent much of the pandemic hammering home the need to address the yawning inequities between health care in rich and poor countries, especially when it comes to battling the coronavirus.
“Covid-19 has exacerbated inequalities both between and within countries,” he said Tuesday. “It’s a travesty that in some countries health workers and those at-risk groups remain completely unvaccinated.”
He did acknowledge that vaccine programs are now present in a 190 countries, though low-income nations have been struggling to get a hold of vaccines because they have been largely bought up by the wealthier countries seeking to serve their own populations.
A WHO-led initiative known as Covax has already distributed millions of vaccines to lower-income nations but it remains underfunded and Tedros called on other governments to “share vaccine doses and fill the $22.1 billion gap.”
His remarks come as the weekly WHO report on the state of the pandemic showed a global rise in the rate of new coronavirus cases for the sixth week running. Deaths around the world have also increased by 11 percent since the previous week.
While countries like the United States and Brazil made their usual substantial contributions to the numbers, India distinguished itself with skyrocketing new cases as the pandemic has suddenly surged under pressure from new variants. India announced Wednesday a record 115,000 new cases — the most in the world.