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Countries off-track in achieving 70% COVID-19 vaccination rate – Ghebreyesus

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DIRECTOR-General, World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus says countries are off-track in achieving the shared goal of vaccinating 70 per cent of every country’s population by the middle of this year, as well as the targets for testing and treatment.

  WHO has partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund and Gavi to initiate the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, led by Ted Chaiban.

  The initiative is to abet government-led vaccine strategies through political engagement, delivery funding, technical assistance and surge support

  In his opening remarks at the 9th meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator Facilitation Council, WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said that many of the supply and delivery restrictions faced last year are being overcome with almost 1.2 billion doses of vaccine delivered. 

  He also noted that attention must be turned towards addressing the critical question of how vaccines are turned into vaccinations; how to ensure all countries have enough tests, enough oxygen to treat patients and enough personal protective equipment to keep health workers safe.

  “We are far off the track of achieving our shared goal of vaccinating 70 per cent of every country’s population by the middle of this year, as well as our targets for testing and treatment.”

  “To support our efforts to achieve our vaccination target, WHO, UNICEF and Gavi have initiated the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, led by Ted Chaiban, to assist government-led vaccine strategies through political engagement, delivery funding, technical assistance and surge support.”

  “And to achieve all our targets, we are calling on all countries to fill the urgent financing gap of US$16 billion for the ACT Accelerator.”

  “This is essential not only for saving lives and bringing the pandemic under control but for driving a truly inclusive global recovery, which will benefit all countries.”

  The DG expressed gratitude to South Africa and Norway for launching the campaign calling for countries to pay their ‘fair share’ to the ACT-Accelerator. Also, the Facilitation Council’s Finance and Resource Mobilisation Working Group for their work on the financing framework that underpins the fair share asks.

  “Today, we will hear how the ACT Accelerator has supported Kenya to scale up testing and sequencing, and Rwanda’s achievement of reaching 40% vaccine coverage by the end of last year.”

“These inspiring examples need to spur us forward, as there is much work still to be done.”

  “These must be our priorities in our discussions today, and in the weeks and months ahead:

“First, every country should commit to achieving vaccination, testing, treatment and PPE targets, and focus on overcoming the bottlenecks they face;

“Second, higher-income countries should contribute their ‘fair share’ to the ACT Accelerator, based on the size of their economy;

“Third, we need to keep equitable access at the top of the agenda of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in April, the G20 and G7 Health Ministers meetings in May,” the WHO chief said.

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