WHO urges countries to donate COVID-19 vaccines as supplies tighten

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization urged countries on Friday to donate COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate the most vulnerable in 20 poorer nations after India, a key supplier to the agency's COVAX vaccine-sharing programme, said it was prioritising local needs. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the COVAX programme, run with the GAVI vaccine alliance, needed 10 million doses immediately to inoculate healthcare workers and older people as a stop-gap measure. 'COVAX is ready to deliver but we can't deliver vaccines we don't have

Reuters March 27, 2021 01:10:27 IST
WHO urges countries to donate COVID-19 vaccines as supplies tighten

WHO urges countries to donate COVID19 vaccines as supplies tighten

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization urged countries on Friday to donate COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate the most vulnerable in 20 poorer nations after India, a key supplier to the agency's COVAX vaccine-sharing programme, said it was prioritising local needs.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the COVAX programme, run with the GAVI vaccine alliance, needed 10 million doses immediately to inoculate healthcare workers and older people as a stop-gap measure.

"COVAX is ready to deliver but we can't deliver vaccines we don't have. Bilateral deals, export bans, vaccine nationalism and vaccine diplomacy have caused distortions in the market with gross inequities in supply and demand," Tedros told a news conference.

"Ten million doses is not much and it's not nearly enough," he said.

India, the world's biggest vaccine maker, said on Friday it would make domestic inoculations a priority. The move will hit COVAX supplies as some of AstraZeneca's vaccine is produced by the Serum Institute of India.

Tedros thanked India for its exports so far and said the move was "understandable" given rising infections. He added that talks with India were underway to find a balance between local and international needs.

So far COVAX has delivered 32 million vaccine doses to 61 countries, but 36 countries still await vaccines to start inoculations, he said.

Tedros has said countries should work together to ensure COVID-19 vaccinations begin everywhere across the world within the first 100 days of 2021, or by April 10.

WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward said that talks with well-supplied countries about donations were underway and that some had expressed "positive interest", without naming them.

Meanwhile a long-awaited report into the origins of the novel coronavirus, following a WHO team trip to Wuhan, China in January and February, would be released in the next few days, team leader Peter Ben Embarek said. WHO's member states will receive it first before it is made public, he said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi Writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.