More than half of countries in the world have not received the coronavirus vaccine as part of the World Health Organization's program to assist low- and middle-income nations.
Vaccination has begun in 52 high-income countries around the world. However, 92 low- and middle-income nations have not received the vaccine as part of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Program (COVAX), which was pioneered with high hopes.
COVAX was commenced last April to ensure all countries have equal access to COVID-19 vaccines.
One of the progam's partner, GAVI vaccine alliance said that rich countries started to stockpile the vaccine putting COVAX in a difficult situation.
In an email response, WHO told Anadolu Agency that ensuring delivery of vaccine everywhere and to everyone will be a “formidable challenge".
“There will be limited supply of vaccines at the beginning of the rollout. Fair and equitable allocation and distribution of those life-saving tools is the only way to end the acute phase of the pandemic in a globally interconnected world,” said WHO.
“It’s not the vaccines that will stop the pandemic; it’s the vaccination. So, we must ensure fair and equitable access to the vaccines, and ensure their delivery to people, everywhere. This is going to be a formidable challenge. It’s like climbing the Everest: we’ve set the base camp, but we still have to scale the summit,” it added.
WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said a date for vaccine distribution to low- and middle-income countries is yet to be announced.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus drew attention to the global inequality in access to vaccines in one of his recent addresses.
"Even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world's haves and have-nots," he said.
Noting that while 39 million doses have been administered in 49 higher-income countries, only 25 doses have been given to one of the lowest-income countries.
"I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world's poorest countries," Ghebreyesus said.
Also criticizing the bilateral deals between richer countries and vaccine manufacturers, he argued that this state of affairs could undermine COVAX, which aims to ensure equal global access to vaccines.
*Writing and contribution by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak in Ankara.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.