WHO says vaccine makers should follow AstraZeneca’s advance technology and license other manufacturers to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
More producers of COVID-19 vaccines should follow AstraZeneca’s lead and license AstraZeneca’s technology to other manufacturers, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday, describing the continued inequity of vaccines as “grotesque”.
AstraZeneca injection, which new US data has shown to be safe and effective despite the suspension of inoculations by some countries for health reasons, is produced in a variety of locations, including SKBioScience in South Korea and the Serum Institute in India.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has blasted the growing gap between the number of coronavirus vaccines administered in rich and poor countries, calling the inequity a global “moral scandal”.
He said it was “shocking” that little had been done to avert an entirely predictable “catastrophic moral failure” to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. The gap “grew larger every day and became more and more grotesque every day,” he told a press conference.
“Countries that now vaccinate younger, healthy people at low risk of disease are doing so at the cost of the lives of health workers, the elderly and other at-risk groups in other countries,” said Tedros, adding that rich countries themselves give a false sense of security.
The head of the United Nations health agency said the more transmission of the virus around the world, the more variants were likely to emerge – and the more that appear, the more likely they are to escape the virus. vaccines.
AstraZeneca “ very good vaccine ”
Previously, AstraZeneca released provisional data showing that its vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford, was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and had no increased risk of blood clots.
WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan called it “a very good vaccine for all age groups.”
Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark have extended temporary suspensions of AstraZeneca’s vaccine as investigations continue into rare blood clotting events.
Still, WHO officials said African countries receiving the vaccine via COVAX were moving forward.
“They’ve asked a lot of questions, but the demand for the vaccine is extremely high,” WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward said.
There remains a possibility for COVAX to meet the second quarter target of delivering 300 million doses, Aylward said, while acknowledging “start-up issues,” with SKBioSciences and the Serum Institute struggling to meet COVAX orders.
“We just can’t get enough vaccines,” Aylward said.
“We hope that both companies can evolve and keep pace with the delivery we are targeting.”