Goal to vaccinate 70% of the population of every country by the middle of next year – WHO chief
TOKYO — Our common goal must be to vaccinate 70% of the population of every country by the middle of next year says WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during his keynote speech at World Health the 138th International Olympic Committee Session.
According to Tedros, achieving it will take commitment, preparation and skill. But the prize is lives saved and a sustainable global recovery.
”Ending the pandemic is a choice all of us can make. And there is something all of us can do: governments, companies, civil society and the people of the world.
”The reason why we’re not ending is the lack of real political commitment. It’s very disappointing that we’re not able to end it while we have all the tools at hands. And I have a message to four groups.”
Below is the extraction of the speech.
Every government must commit to protecting its people with a tailored and consistent set of public health and social measures.
There are no short cuts. If we throw caution to the wind, it will blow back in our faces.
The governments of G20 countries, in particular, must show collective leadership to ensure the urgent scale-up and deployment of the tools needed to save lives. They have all the means to do this.
I thank Japan for co-hosting the COVAX AMC Summit last month, and for its generosity in contributing 1 billion U.S. dollars to the COVAX Facility.
This is the kind of leadership we need.
If they choose to, the world’s leading economies could bring the pandemic under control globally in a matter of months by sharing doses through COVAX, funding the ACT Accelerator, and incentivizing manufacturers to do whatever it takes to scale up production.
If nations can mobilize the power of industry for war, why can they not do the same to defeat this common enemy? And everybody knows that investment in COVID now is a fraction of what is invested in defense to kill people.
The companies that make vaccines, tests and treatments have given the world powerful tools, and a source of hope.
But they too have a social responsibility to make sure those tools are available to everyone who needs them, everywhere.
Most vaccines were developed with public funds.
Many companies have made commitments to sharing doses, but many of those commitments are yet to be fulfilled.
To reach our target of vaccinating 70% of the population of every country by the middle of next year, we need 11 billion vaccines.
That will require an urgent and dramatic scale-up in production. 2023 or later will be far too late. There are people who say that.
There are many ways to increase production, including by sharing know-how and technology with other companies with production capacity, or by waiving intellectual property rights on certain products for a certain time.
WHO values the role of the private sector in the pandemic and in many areas of health. The intellectual property system plays a vital role in fostering innovation of new tools to save lives.
But this is an unprecedented crisis that demands unprecedented action. With so many lives on the line, profits and patents must come second.
Third, civil society.
So many civil society organizations have made such an incredible contribution.
I particularly appreciate the alliance of more than 60 civil society organizations who have joined forces to advocate for vaccine equity. Thank you for everything you’ve done, and please keep going. Your voices must continue to be heard. And push so we can realise the 70% by the middle of next year with your support, and end the pandemic.
And fourth, the people of the world.
As individuals, we have the power to change the course of this pandemic, with our choices, and our voices.
Every day, the choices we make as individuals can be the difference between life and death, like staying at home, keeping your distance from others, wearing a mask, opening a window and cleaning your hands.
These simple measures could save your life, or the life of someone else – in your family, your community, or on the other side of the world.
In our global village, our lives are intertwined, even with those we will never meet.
And when the people speak with one voice, governments and companies listen.
I call on the people of the world to speak up for vaccine equity. Tell your government that sharing is not charity; it’s enlightened self-interest. When they invest in protecting others, they invest in protecting you.
All of us – governments, companies, civil society, individuals, the IOC – can fight the infodemic that deprives people of life-saving information and peddles deadly lies.
And any individual, organization or business can contribute to saving the lives of others by making a donation to the WHO Foundation’s Solidarity Response Fund.