Geneva, Jan 30: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), has said that vaccines are now giving a window of opportunity to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control, but they may also exacerbate the inequalities in distribution across the globe.
"A year ago, I said the world had a 'window of opportunity' to prevent widespread transmission of this new virus."
The WHO chief was referring to a time when there were fewer than 100 Covid-19 cases and no deaths outside China.
"This week, we reached 100 million reported cases. More cases have been reported in the past two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic.
"Vaccine nationalism might serve short-term political goals. But it's ultimately short-sighted and self-defeating.
"When a village is on fire, it makes no sense for a small group of people to hoard all the extinguishers to defend their own houses," Tedros said.
Since vaccines are a limited resource, the WHO has repeatedly called for their effective and fair use, according to the Director-General.
"That's why I have challenged government and industry leaders to work together to ensure that in the first 100 days of 2021, vaccination of health workers and older people is underway in all countries," Tedros said.
He further called on people in countries that are now rolling out vaccines to use their voice to advocate for their government to share doses.
Healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic and paid an extremely high price in this pandemic.
"Now it's time to show our love and appreciation for health workers by making sure all health workers are vaccinated," he said.
The WHO chief's remarks come as the total number of global coronavirus cases has topped 102 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.20 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
In its latest update on Saturday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 102,007,480 and 2,204,494, respectively.