COVID-19: Make drugs, vaccines available to everyone, WHO urges global leaders

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The World Health Organisation has urged all leaders around the world to step up efforts to make COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines available to all populations.

The Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made the call during a press conference organised on Tuesday by the WHO.

He noted that low and middle-income countries are still unable to access antivirals, adding that testing is also drastically reduced in many places.

According to him, the WHO hopes to see progress at the global summit on COVID-19, so that antivirals and tests are shared fairly around the world.

WHO is working very closely with ACT-Accelerator partners, a non-governmental and non-profit organisation, on securing contracts that can increase availability and affordability,” Tedros said.

He stated further that there are four crucial areas to improve access adding that the WHO is calling on Pfizer to assist in improving access to COVID-19 drugs, and vaccines.

There needs to be increased geographical scope on the licensing Pfizer signed with the Medicines Patent Pool, an UN-backed public health organisation. 

“Too many countries, including most of Latin America, cannot access the drug at the moment.

“Drugs prices need to be affordable for countries and transparent.

“There must be no additional contractual requirements that hamper/delay access at the country level. Delays cost lives.

“Continue to support increased generic manufacturing around the world so that we can increase supply quickly,” he said.

“At the Global Summit on COVID-19, leaders must agree to end the stalemate at World Trade Organisation on the temporary waiver of intellectual property on COVID-19 tools.

He said an estimate of 15 million people have died and asked if the world was waiting for a worse pandemic before activating the waiver.

Vaccination is the best way to save lives, protect communities and health systems and minimise cases of post-COVID-19 condition or long COVID.

“Long COVID is devastating and debilitating for individuals, both young and old, communities and economies.

“Governments need to take it seriously and provide integrated care, psychosocial support and sick leave for those patients that are suffering from it.”

“Vaccination can help mitigate the effects of long COVID and is yet another sound reason for people to get vaccinated and member states to not give up,” he said.

Tedros said, “We encourage member states, health facilities, and research networks working on long COVID to contribute to the WHO clinical data platform to better understand the condition and provide evidence guidance to support those suffering from it.

 

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