The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) urgently called on vaccine manufacturers to share technologies to help increase production dramatically, warning against a return to the first box.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the number of Covid-19 vaccines with which people have been vaccinated has now exceeded 100 million infections reported worldwide.
Ghebreyesus expressed concern that more than three quarters of vaccines were used in 10 rich countries only, warning that the uneven distribution of vaccines puts the progress made against the epidemic at risk.
Ghebreyesus also said that "some countries have already vaccinated large proportions of their population who are at lower risk of serious disease or death," without giving specific examples.
At the same time, he said, "nearly 130 countries with 2.5 billion people have yet to deliver a single dose."
He urged countries to "share the doses as soon as they finish vaccinating health workers and the elderly."
He emphasized that vaccine manufacturers also bear a responsibility to do more, stressing that there is a need for "a massive increase in production."
The WHO director indicated a number of steps that vaccine manufacturers could take to increase their production, including issuing "non-exclusive licenses to allow other producers to manufacture their own vaccines," something that had been previously done to expand access to HIV and hepatitis C treatments.
The director also called for the voluntary sharing of data and technologies to help enable "immediate use of untapped production capacity and help build additional manufacturing bases, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America."
A Reuters statistic showed that more than 105.01 million people were infected with the emerging coronavirus worldwide, while the total number of deaths resulting from the virus reached two million and 285524.