(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — With multiple counties working on a COVID-19 vaccine, with several already entering phase 3 of testing, the World Health Organization on Tuesday unveiled its plans to distribute a future vaccine to assuage fears that doses will be evenly disbursed among countries.
WHO has enacted the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, or SAGE, to ensure citizens are prioritized over countries, meaning that doses will be made available to the most affected nations.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva on Friday, “The first priority must be to vaccinate some people in all the countries, rather than all the people in some countries…Vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it.”
Dr. Ruth Faden, Ph.D., M.P.H., founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute for Bioethics, approved of the plan. “The idea behind the COVAX facility is that the world community unite in an enlightened and self-interested way to both incentivize and then distribute the vaccine so that there’s no country in the world where no vaccines are available right from the beginning,” said Faden. “The countries that come in who are self-financing are essentially helping themselves by helping the world.”
COVID-19 has infected nearly 30 million people across the globe — killing nearly a million — according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S., who opted out of the global vaccine alliance, remains the worst-affected nation with 6.6 million confirmed cases and more than 195,000 deaths.