Health Minister calls for ‘vaccine equity’ among countries
– says large countries practising ‘vaccine nationalism’
Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony has called for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in all countries, particularly developing nations.
In his World Health Day address on Wednesday, the Minister noted that large countries have been practising “vaccine nationalism,” purchasing more vaccines, and prioritising supplies for their respective countries.
This practice, the Minister said, cannot work as the pandemic is affecting every country across the globe.
“This theme is very important because as you know, we are all in a pandemic and in this particular pandemic, one way to get to the end of the pandemic is through a vaccine, and there have been a number of vaccines that have become available globally. Unfortunately, these vaccines are not readily accessible to many countries.
We have noted for the rich countries, that some of them have been practising vaccine nationalism, meaning that they’ve been able to buy the best vaccines, and have been able to prioritise those supplies for their particular country. This cannot work when the epidemic or pandemic, is affecting every country in the globe,” Dr. Anthony said.
The Minister said efforts must be made to increase vaccinations.
“Unless we close the gap, it’s going to take longer for us to bring this pandemic to an end. If there are poor countries without vaccines, then the consequences of that can be dire because the longer we wait to immunise those countries; there’s more opportunity for the virus to mutate and to create problems not just for those countries, but the countries who probably would have been vaccinated.”
Minister Anthony said he hopes countries can work together to get the vaccines, and that the global immunisation can be done at a faster rate, so that everyone could be safe.
World Health Day 2021 is themed, “Building a fairer and a healthier world for everyone.”
Celebrated on April 7th each year, the global health awareness day, raises awareness about the overall health and well-being of people across the world.