Inequality in distribution of COVID vaccines is ‘stupid’

“Not having an equitable distribution of vaccines is not only an immoral problem, but also a problem of stupidity,” the UN Secretary General said Thursday regarding the gap in vaccine availability between rich and poor countries.

Frustrated António Guterres said efforts by developed countries to encourage their people to be vaccinated “one, two or three times will fall apart” if other areas of the world remain unvaccinated and new variants of COVID emerge.

The United Nations and the World Health Organization are seeking $8 billion to implement their strategy of vaccinating 40 percent of each country’s population by the end of this year and 70 percent by mid-2022.

The plan will see rich countries swap vaccine delivery times with poor countries and will also allow rich countries to fulfill their vaccine donation commitments for COVAX, a global initiative for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“We can still achieve our targets for this year and next, but this will require a level of political commitment, action and cooperation, beyond what we have seen to date,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Meanwhile in the US, a study published Thursday in the medical journal Pediatrics states that more than 120,000 children of minority descent in the US have lost their primary caregiver, including parents or grandparents who are responsible for the child’s needs. because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study is a collaboration between the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Imperial College London, Harvard University, Oxford University, and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The study was funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, as well as Imperial College London.

NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow said, “We have to address many of the fundamental inequalities and health inequalities that put nonwhite people at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and dying from COVID-19, which puts nonwhite children at greater risk of losing people. their parents or caregivers and face the associated negative effects on their development.”

Nearly a month after announcing an overarching plan to require millions of Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine, US President Joe Biden traveled to Chicago Thursday to discuss progress on the vaccine mandate.

President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 vaccination after inspecting the Clayco Corporation construction site for a Microsoft data center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, October 7, 2021.

President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 vaccination after inspecting the Clayco Corporation construction site for a Microsoft data center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, October 7, 2021.

In comments made at Clayco, a national construction company, Biden said his mandate was effective and that millions of Americans have been vaccinated since it was announced.

“We know that there is no other way to beat the pandemic than to get the vast majority of Americans vaccinated… We’re not there yet. We have to beat this thing,” he said.

Biden also said the mandate was good for the economy and had broad public support.

In concluding his statement, Biden called for more companies to enforce the mandate.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center Friday said it had recorded 237 million COVID infections and nearly 5 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide. It added that 6.4 billion vaccines have been administered so far. [uh/ab]

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