The director-general of the World Health Organization has called for an end to "vaccine nationalism," NPR reports.
In a briefing yesterday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus instead urged nations to join a global vaccine agreement called the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility, which would enable global sharing of COVID-19 vaccines. "The fastest way to end this pandemic and to reopen economies is to start by protecting the highest risk populations everywhere," Tedros said at the briefing, according to New Scientist.
This call, NPR notes, comes as the European Union, US, UK, and Switzerland have struck deals with vaccine makers for access to candidate vaccines. Tedros said he was concerned that "vaccine nationalism" would lead to some countries stockpiling vaccines, leaving others with limited access to vaccines, noting that this occurred in the early days of the pandemic with protective gear. "Nationalism exacerbated the pandemic and contributed to the total failure of the global supply chain," he said, according to NPR.
NPR adds the deadline to set the terms of the new agreement is at the end of the month.