WASHINGTON, April 2 — Unicef is calling on wealthier countries to stop “vaccine nationalism” and share coronavirus vaccines through the Covax facility, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director Ted Chaiban said during the World Health Organisation (WHO) EMRO Press Conference on Thursday, reported Sputnik.
“It is important that we address the vaccine holistically. Protecting high-income countries alone will not allow life to return to normal,” Chaiban said. “We urge wealthier nations to consider sharing doses that they have through the Covax facility with the rest of the world.”
“We call on the private sector to come forward and partner with Covax to help in increasing the deliveries and the equitable distribution of the vaccines.
“We also call on vaccine manufacturers to rapidly license, sub-contract and share the technology and the know-how with vaccine manufacturing partners – without volume or geographical restrictions – to rapidly scale supply. All barriers to capacity expansion should be removed including Intellectual Property Rights barriers.”
Unicef has delivered more than three million vaccine doses to ten countries in the Middle East and North Africa on behalf of the Covax facility, with the latest deliveries carried out to Yemen and Egypt yesterday.
The WHO has set the goal to start vaccination in all countries within the first 100 days of the year. According to the WHO chief, 36 countries are yet to begin vaccinating; however, 16 of them are set to receive the first batch through the Covax mechanism in the upcoming two weeks.
In total, 177 countries have started mass vaccination campaigns. The Covax facility has distributed more than 32 million vaccines to 61 countries.