Development Health Advice 

Healthier world means ‘safer America’ Tedros stresses, as UN-led vaccine initiative announces deal for 40 million doses 

Commenting on the deal at the regular end-of-week press conference in Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said pending emergency authorization, close to 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine should also be available for COVAX to distribute, up to the end of March.  February delivery date  “Together, these announcements mean COVAX could begin delivering doses in February, provided we can finalize a supply agreement”, he said, noting that the deal “also opens the door” for countries with spare doses, to donate them.  In a press release outlining the deal, Tedros said the “urgent and equitable rollout…

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Development Health Advice 

Pandemic will not end for anyone, ‘until it ends for everyone’ 

“The virus can still travel from the vastly unvaccinated massive population of the Global South to the Global North, including in its increasingly mutating forms”, Obiora Okafor, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international solidarity, said in a statement.  He explained that with mutations constantly evolving, only inoculating rich countries would likely “complicate or delay” the eradication of the virus.  Skewed vaccine delivery  The last few weeks of 2020 witnessed the approval of several COVID-19 vaccines by regulators in various countries, “offering much hope to billions of people worldwide”,…

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Development Health Advice 

Fauci announces US intention to resume major role in global health

Addressing the WHO’s Executive Board Meeting, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Adviser to the new US President, said that Mr. Biden intended to issue a directive within hours so that the country can become part of the COVAX platform to advance multilateral efforts to distribute coronavirus vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.  Speaking one year ago “to the day” since the United States confirmed its first case of COVID-19 infection, Dr. Fauci noted that global infections had now surpassed 90 million. This was a “devastating number that continues to grow”, he said,…

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Development Health Advice 

Guterres urges world to ‘work together in solidarity’ as US moves to re-join WHO

In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres said that supporting the UN health agency “is absolutely critical” to the world’s effort for a better coordinated response against COVID-19.  The UN chief also urged global solidarity to defeat the coronavirus.   “Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” the statement added.  Earlier in the day, in one of his first acts as new US President, Mr. Biden signed an executive order…

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Development Health Advice 

Independent panel finds critical early failings in COVID-19 response

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response found critical elements to be “slow, cumbersome and indecisive” in an era when information about new disease outbreaks is being transmitted faster than countries can formally report on them.  “When there is a potential health threat, countries and the World Health Organization must further use the 21st century digital tools at their disposal to keep pace with news that spreads instantly on social media and infectious pathogens that spread rapidly through travel”, said Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and…

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Development Health Advice 

WHO chief warns against ‘catastrophic moral failure’ in COVID-19 vaccine access

Addressing the agency’s Executive Board, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed fear that “even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world’s haves and have-nots.”  Describing the rapid development of vaccines as a literal and figurative “shot in the arm” during the pandemic, Tedros reported that while 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer countries, only 25 have been given in one lowest income nation.  A self-defeating approach   “I need to be blunt: the world is on…

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Development Health Advice 

COVID-19 committee stresses need for equitable vaccine access, more data sharing

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reported on the outcomes of the latest meeting of the Emergency Committee on COVID-19, held online the previous day.  Experts issued a statement calling for upgrading national capacity for genome sequencing, and greater data sharing, in efforts to monitor and respond to changes in the virus.    Tedros told journalists he was pleased they also emphasized that vaccines must be rolled out equitably.    “Health workers are exhausted, health systems are stretched and we’re seeing supplies of oxygen run dangerously low in some countries”, he…

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Development Health Advice 

As COVID deaths pass two million worldwide, Guterres warns against self-defeating ‘vaccinationalism’

“Behind this staggering number are names and faces: the smile now only a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one”, Mr. Guterres said. Solidarity, to save more souls  “In the memory of those two million souls, the world must act with far greater solidarity,” he added. Our world has reached a heart-wrenching milestone: #COVID19 has now claimed two million lives. Sadly, the impact of the pandemic has been made worse by the absence of global coordination. In…

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Development Health Advice 

Health experts arrive in Wuhan to investigate COVID-19 origins

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, was addressing the latest session of the Emergency Committee on COVID-19 established under the International Health Regulations (IHR), a treaty that guides global response to public health risks.  The new coronavirus that sparked the pandemic first emerged in Wuhan in December 2019.  Tedros reported that most of the 15 members of the delayed mission are now in the city, although two people are still in Singapore awaiting COVID-19 test results.  “All members of the team had multiple negative PCR and antibody tests in their…

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Development Health Advice 

Israel: Ensure equal COVID-19 vaccine access to Palestinians – UN Independent experts 

“In this early stage of the worldwide inoculation programme, Israel has delivered the vaccines to a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country”, said Special Rapporteurs Michael Lynk and Tlaleng Mofokeng.  While noting that Israel has offered Palestinians with resident status in occupied East Jerusalem the vaccines, they noted however, that it has not ensured that those under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza will have any near-future access to the vaccine.   Rising COVID-19 cases  As coronavirus infections and deaths continue to rise steadily, the IUN World Health…

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