WHO to fail to meet its vaccination launch target

The World Health Organization (WHO) is on the verge of failing in its goal to start vaccinations against Covid-19 in all countries by April 19.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had called on rich countries last week to urgently donate 10 million vaccine doses from their stocks. By Thursday, however, he said he had not received any pledges.

The WHO had issued the call at the beginning of January that vaccination should begin everywhere in the world in the first 100 days of 2021, making the deadline April 10.

Tedros said that 20 countries were at the starting blocks for vaccination but had not received a single dose so far. “I still hope that a few political leaders will step forward who are forward-looking and enlightened,” he said.

The UN vaccination initiative COVAX has so far delivered 35 million vaccine doses to a total of 78 countries. COVAX had admitted last week that there were delays.

The reason given was export restrictions in India, where a large proportion of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses destined for COVAX are manufactured.

The country of 1.3 billion people argues that it needs the vaccines for its own population first. In total, this is delaying the delivery of 90 million doses.