Greta Thunberg urges global support for vaccine equity

Greta Thunberg urges global support for vaccine equity

As with climate crisis, world must help those most vulnerable first, says environmental activist

By Peter Kenny

GENEVA (AA) – Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Monday urged the global community to address vaccine inequity that the World Health Organization chief warned is a massive impediment to halting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The international community must do more to address the tragedy that is vaccine inequity,” said Thunberg at a bi-weekly WHO press webinar on coronavirus and its impact.

“We have the means at our disposal to correct the great imbalance that exists around the world today in the fight against COVID-19. Just as with the climate crisis, we must help those who are the most vulnerable first,” she said.

That is why the climate activist supports the WHO, the GAVI vaccine alliance, and all involved in the global vaccine initiative COVAX, which Thunberg believes offers the best path forward to ensure true vaccine equity and a way out of the pandemic.

Fighting the pandemic has the same needs as those to fight the climate crisis, and help should go to those who are the most vulnerable first, asserted the activist.

She said the Greta Thunberg Foundation is to donate €100,000 ($120,000) to support vaccine equity as she urged countries and manufacturers to boost and share COVID-19 vaccine supplies so that everyone everywhere can be vaccinated.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus thanked Thunberg for her advocacy supporting vaccine equity and the example she has set through her foundation and making a “life-saving” donation to COVAX, which aims to provide equitable accessibility to vaccines across the globe.

“Greta Thunberg has inspired millions of people worldwide to take action to address the climate crisis, and her strong support of vaccine equity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic yet again demonstrates her commitment to making our world a healthier, safer, and fairer place for all people,” said Tedros.

“I urge the global community to follow Greta’s example and do what they can, in support of COVAX, to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from this pandemic.”

Tedros had said at an April 16 webinar that more than 832 million vaccine doses had been administered globally, but over 82% had gone to high- or upper-middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.2%.

On average, in high-income countries, more than one in four people have received a vaccine. In low-income countries, it is almost one in 500.

“Vaccine equity is the challenge of our time. And we are failing,” Tedros had said.

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