Makers of WHO approved vaccines should prioritise COVAX, not shareholder profit: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

By: |
November 04, 2021 11:06 PM

"We encourage all vaccine manufacturers who have not yet received Emergency Use Listing to contact WHO to discuss how to accelerate the process through rolling submissions," he said.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the remarks a day after the WHO granted emergency use approval for Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.The grant of WHO EUL is a pre-requisite for exports to numerous countries participating in the COVAX Facility. (File)

The chief of the World Health Organisation on Thursday called on manufacturers of vaccines that already have WHO Emergency Use Listing to prioritise COVAX, not shareholder profit.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the remarks a day after the WHO granted emergency use approval for Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.
“Yesterday we added another new tool, with the Emergency Use Listing of Covaxin, the 8th vaccine to receive WHO validation for safety, efficacy and quality,” he said at a media briefing on COVID-19.

The announcement by the WHO came after the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), an independent advisory committee of the world body recommended Emergency Use Listing(EUL) status for Covaxin, and days after the TAG sought “additional clarifications” from Bharat Biotech on October 26 to conduct a final “risk-benefit assessment” of the vaccine for global use.

Emergency Use Listing contributes to vaccine equity, by enabling countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and roll out vaccines, he said.
“We continue to call on manufacturers of vaccines that already have WHO Emergency Use Listing to prioritize COVAX, not shareholder profit,” Tedros said.
“We encourage all vaccine manufacturers who have not yet received Emergency Use Listing to contact WHO to discuss how to accelerate the process through rolling submissions,” he said.

COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the WHO.

He said no more vaccines should go to countries that have already vaccinated more than 40 per cent of their population, until COVAX has the vaccines it needs to help other countries get there too.

More than 5 million deaths have now been reported, and “we know the real number is higher.” Last week, 56 countries, from all regions, reported an increase in deaths from COVID-19 of more than 10 per cent,” Tedros said.

“Twenty-two months since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported, and almost a year since the first vaccines were approved, reported cases and deaths from COVID-19 are increasing again,” he warned.

“We hear reports from many countries about lack of ICU beds, lack of supplies, overwhelmed health workers, and hospitals deferring other needed procedures.
“Let me be very clear: this should not be happening. We have all the tools to prevent transmission and save lives, and we continue to call on all countries to use those tools,” he added.

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