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Global disaster if rich nations corner vaccines

WHO chief says pandemic won’t end if poor are neglected

BY B N KUMAR

Vaccine nationalism might serve short-term political goals. But it’s ultimately short-sighted and self-defeating. We will not end the COVID19 pandemic anywhere until we end it everywhere, Dr Tedros warned.

MUMBAI, Jan 29 (The CONNECT) - Attacking vaccine nationalism, WHO Director General Dr A B Tedros cautioned the rich nations that this “me first” attitude will keep the pandemic burning and heavily impact the global economic recovery.

History of HIV and H1N1 vaccines has not been good and the world should not repeat it, Dr Tedros said in his concluding remarks at the virtual global media conference today.

HIV vaccine was cornered by the rich nations and it took a decade for it to reach the poor countries while H1N1 vaccine came to the poor after the pandemic was over, Dr Tedros pointed out.

“It’s our choice. It’s a small world. It’s global village,” he said in a worried tone.

Vaccine nationalism might serve short-term political goals. But it’s ultimately short-sighted and self-defeating. We will not end the COVID19 pandemic anywhere until we end it everywhere, he warned.

"Tomorrow marks one year since I declared a public health emergency of international concern over the outbreak of novel coronavirus – the highest level of alarm under international law," he said.

It is also a turning point in history, Dr Tedors said and asked: faced with a common crisis, can nations come together in a common approach?

COVID19 vaccines are being developed, approved and produced. There will be enough for everyone. But for now, vaccines are a limited resource. We must use them as effectively and as fairly as we can. If we do that, lives will be saved.

"When a village is on fire, it makes no sense for a small group of people to hoard all the extinguishers to defend their own houses," he said and pointed out: The fire will be put out faster if everyone has an extinguisher and works together"-

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