The WHO warns of "catastrophic moral failure" over coronavirus vaccine access

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday that the world was "on the verge of catastrophic moral failure" because of the uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Why It Matters: Tedros noted during an executive meeting that 39 million doses of vaccine had been given in 49 higher-income countries, while a lowest-income nation had "only 25 doses".
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That "me-first" approach will ultimately "prolong the pandemic, its constraints, and human and economic suffering," he added.
Noteworthy: The WHO itself was criticized in an interim report on Monday for reacting slowly to the outbreak after it was first discovered in China in late 2019, which also pointed out shortcomings at an early stage.
"The global pandemic alert system is inadequate," said the preliminary report by the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparation and Response, an independent body commissioned by WHO.
"WHO is unable to do this job."
What they say: China's public health measures "could have been more applied by local and national health authorities," said the report's expert group, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The experts noted that it was unclear why the WHO didn't meet until the third week of January 2020 and why it wasn't until a week later that it could agree to declare an international public health emergency.
What to Remember: A team from the World Health Organization is in Wuhan, China, investigating the causes of the pandemic.
Tedros said his focus is on rolling out the global vaccine sharing program, COVAX, due to begin next month. Over 180 countries have joined the WHO-led program.
He hopes that by World Health Day on April 7th, COVID-19 vaccines "will be administered in every country as a symbol of hope to overcome both the pandemic and the inequalities that are at the root of so many global health challenges."
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