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July 16, 2021

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Solidarity in fighting pandemic

The world passed the “tragic milestone” of 4 million recorded COVID-19 fatalities on July 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, adding that the pandemic’s true toll was probably higher.

“From a moral, epidemiological or economic point view, now is the time for the world to come together to tackle this pandemic collectively,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The global fight against the pandemic is far from over. Due to a dramatic inequity in vaccine coverage, some underdeveloped regions in Africa and South Asia have already missed the best opportunity to put the pandemic under control.

The fast-moving virus variants such as Delta and Lambda have led to an alarming spike in cases and deaths worldwide, including in countries that previously had better control.

The world’s slow progress in curbing the pandemic cannot be attributed to virus variants alone. “Vaccine nationalism, where a handful of nations have taken the lion’s share, is morally indefensible,” Tedros said.

The rich refuse to share

Some rich nations in the West not only hoard far more doses than their citizens need and refuse to share their vaccines with developing countries, but also exclude vaccines developed by some developing countries from major international vaccine supply channels, further worsening vaccine shortages.

The Washington Post previously estimated that the United States has bought enough coronavirus vaccines to vaccinate 750 million people, well over the threshold needed to fully immunize the 260 million adults in the country.

Meanwhile, many countries are still struggling to get a single dose. Data released by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that as of June 10, only about 0.6 percent of Africa’s population had been vaccinated.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly blasted vaccine nationalism and urged to make doses available, affordable and accessible to all. “If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in the Global South, or parts of it, it will mutate again and again,” he warned.

In the grim fight against the coronavirus, the world must come together, reject politicization and work together to build a global community of health for all.




 

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