There is a “shocking imbalance” in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide and most countries do not have anywhere near enough shots to cover health workers and others at high-risk, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said according to Reuters.
More than 700 million jabs have been administered worldwide against the disease, but 87% have gone to high income or upper middle-income countries, with low income countries receiving just 0.2%, he said.
“On average in high-income countries, almost one in four people has received a COVID-19 vaccine. In low-income countries, it’s one in more than 500,” Tedros told a briefing.
The COVAX facility has delivered nearly 38.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 102 countries across six continents, six weeks after it began to roll out supplies, the GAVI vaccine alliance and WHO said on Thursday. It aims to deliver more than 2 billion doses this year but has faced delays.
“We hope to be able to catch up during April and May. The problem is not getting vaccines out of COVAX, the problem is getting them in,” Tedros said, decrying the scarcity of supply.
The AstraZeneca shot - the mainstay of the COVAX programme so far - has been hit by safety concerns after reports of blood clots in some recipients.