The World Health Organisation (WHO) have warned that the world now faces a “catastrophic moral failure” due to the inequity with Covid vaccine policies. The Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that there was clear inequity with the distribution of the vaccine. Richer nations were receiving the vaccine far quicker than people in poorer nations. As it stands 39 million vaccine doses have been given to 49 of the richer states whereas one poorer nation has only received 25 doses. It has been reported that 70 poorer countries are only able to vaccinate one in ten. Although WHO has received criticism for their response to Covid, an independent panel which was commissioned by WHO themselves have stated that they did not declare a state of international emergency early enough their warnings about the fair distribution of the virus must be listened to. Currently China, India, Russia, the UK and US have all developed a Covid vaccine while other vaccines have been developed by multinationals like Pfizer. In the main these countries have prioritised distribution of the vaccine to their own populations. WHO have made it clear that the price of failing to distribute the vaccine fairly will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the worlds poorest countries’. The cost of richer countries putting themselves first will only serve to increase the cost and create hording. Such actions can only have the effect to extend the pandemic even longer, this would undoubtedly include more economic suffering for many workers. It is vital that there is a full commitment to the global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax. The scheme aims to vaccinate at least 20% of people in poorer countries. WHO have set a challenge to all UN member states that by World Health Day on 7th April Covid vaccines will be administered in all countries therefore providing a symbol of hope to everyone, everywhere that the pandemic will be overcome and that health inequalities are somewhat being addressed in relation to the vaccine. As it stands 180 countries have signed up to Covax who’s aim is to unite countries into a block so that they have more power in negotiations with pharmaceutical companies. However, many of the richer countries like the UK, EU, Canada have signed up to private deals with pharmaceutical companies to ensure their own supplies. The Workers’ Party urge all countries to sign up to the Covax scheme and to support WHO in their endeavours to ensure a fair distribution of the vaccine and in so doing go some way to reducing the health inequalities that exist throughout the world in relation to Covid.
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