As Covid-19 case numbers continue rising globally, Dr. Mike Ryan, director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, on Wednesday called upon wealthy nations to help bridge a global vaccine inequity gap.
“There are populations out there who want and who need vaccines who are not going to get them unless or until we begin to share better,” Ryan said during a virtual Q&A Wednesday.
In the 36 days since countries started vaccinating, 28 million vaccine doses have been administered, he said. According to Ryan, of the 46 countries who are currently vaccinating, only one is a low income country.
“We really have to look at this in terms of equity,” Ryan said.
Ryan added there have been 5 million new cases of Covid-19 and 85,000 deaths linked to the virus globally in the past week.
“Essentially, all regions apart from Southeast Asia are showing increases,” Ryan said, highlighting that the Americas still account for half of all new cases and 45% of deaths globally.
“We’ve seen that perfect storm of the season, the coldness, people going inside, increased social mixing, and a combination of factors that have driven increased transmission in many, many countries,” Ryan said.
“It’s interesting when we talk about tolerance, kindness and solidarity, that they are probably the most powerful countermeasures we have right now,” he added. “You have to have the attitude that this disease ends with me.”