As numbers of Covid-19 cases continue to rise globally, Dr Mike Ryan, director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, on Wednesday called on rich countries to help bridge the inequality gap in global vaccines.
“There are residents out there who want vaccines and need them who will not get them unless or until we start participating better,” Ryan said during a virtual question-and-answer session on Wednesday.
In the 36 days since countries began vaccinating, he said, 28 million vaccine doses have been given. According to Ryan, of the 46 countries currently vaccinating, only one is a low-income country.
“We really have to look at this in terms of stocks,” said Ryan.
Ryan added that there were 5 million new Covid-19 cases and 85,000 virus-related deaths globally in the past week.
“Essentially, all regions except Southeast Asia are seeing increases,” Ryan said, noting that the Americas still account for half of all new cases and 45% of deaths globally.
“We’ve seen the perfect season’s storm, the cold, the entry of people, the increase in social mixing, and a combination of factors that have led to an increase in transmission in many, many countries,” Ryan said.
“It is interesting when we talk about tolerance, kindness and solidarity that they are perhaps the strongest countermeasures we have right now,” he added. “You must have the attitude that this disease ends in me.”
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