GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) backed international efforts to forge a treaty setting out global responses to pandemics on Monday, as member states began a three-day conference.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the fair distribution of vaccines must be a central part of any such agreement.
“Vaccine equity is not charity, it’s in every country’s best interest’’, Tedros said in his opening remarks. A legally binding treaty would in his view provide the best foundation for jointly combatting future pandemics, despite whatever compromises had to be made to make such an agreement happen.
“Now is the time for all countries to make their choice to invest in a healthier, safer and fairer future’’, he said.
In a separate statement released on Monday, the WHO said donations of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries must be better organised, pointing out that currently many doses were handed out ad-hoc and with a dwindling shelf life. — dpa