Voicing concern over many countries failing to vaccinate their people, World Health Organisation chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday called for vaccinating at least 10 per cent of the population of every country by September as he described vaccination as the best way to control the pandemic and reboot the global economy.
"Vast inequities in the access to vaccines are fuelling a two-track pandemic. While some countries have reached a high level of coverage, many others don't have enough to vaccinate health workers, older people & other at-risk groups," the WHO Director General said in a virtual address to India Global Forum.
Asserting that when some countries cannot vaccinate, it's a threat to all countries, Ghebreyesus called for a global effort to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of the population of every country by September, at least 40 per cent by the end of the year, and at least 70 per cent by the middle of next year.
"Vaccine equity is not just the right thing to do. It's the best way to control the pandemic and reboot the global economy," the WHO chief said as he warned that 'until we end the pandemic everywhere, we will not end it anywhere'.
According to a United Nations report, COVID-19 vaccination rates are uneven across countries, ranging from below 1 per cent of the population in some countries to above 60 per cent in others.
The UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme has faced a slow start to its campaign, as richer nations have locked up billions of doses through contracts directly with drug manufacturers.
The COVAX has distributed just 81 million doses globally and parts of the world, particularly in Africa.
Last month, the G7 consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States pledged over 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the world's poorest countries by the end of next year.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected over 18.2 crore people and killed nearly 40 lakh, according to Johns Hopkins University.
India has recorded more than 3 crore coronavirus cases and registered nearly 400,000 deaths due to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic last year.
The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India has gone past 33.54 crore, including more than 25.14 lakh jabs given on Wednesday.