The World Health Organization (WHO) is asking nations to work together on a COVID-19 vaccine and says young adults are behind the continually growing number of #coronavirus cases.
On Tuesday, WHO chief Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization is issuing a last-ditch call for countries to join a global vaccine pact. Nations that would like to join the “COVAX Global Vaccines Facility” have until Aug. 31 to participate with fellow COVID-19 vaccine hopefuls. Reuters reports that Tedros sent the letter out to WHO’s 194 members, urging their participation.
In addition to that announcement, the organization revealed the younger generation is now the leading group for coronavirus cases, many of whom were unaware that they had even contracted the disease, which makes them a danger to others. The move for nations to come together to find a cure comes after the European Union, Britain, Switzerland, and the United States agreed on a deal with companies to test prospective vaccines. Russia and China are also working on a vaccine; however, WHO believes that national interests may get in the way of global efforts.
During a virtual briefing, Tedros said, “We need to prevent vaccine nationalism. Sharing finite supplies strategically and globally is actually in each country’s national interest.”Ninety-two poorer countries have expressed interest in COVAX facility, but The European Commission is urging EU states against the initiative due to concerns over costs and speed. Less fortunate countries are hoping for voluntary donations from wealthier countries. Eighty richer countries agreed to help pay for the WHO-led initiative, according to the agency. There are currently more than 150 vaccines in development, about two dozen human studies and several late-stage trials, Reuters reports. While the facility’s terms are still being ironed out, Bruce Aylward, leader of WHO’s ACT Accelerator initiative, says participation would expedite the transfer of supplies, COVID-19 diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines.
“We are not twisting arms for people to join,” Aylward said. “We’ve had more and more discussions with a broader and broader group of players … to work through what might be the barriers to collaborating – issues around price, issues around timing, issues around national expectations.” In the meantime, the agency wants the youth to stay at home, for everyone’s sake. “The epidemic is changing,” WHO Western Pacific regional director, Takeshi Kasai, said. “People in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are increasingly driving the spread.”