Tedros Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO has criticised Switzerland and other nations, describing elements of their Covid-19 vaccination strategies as a “moral scandal”, reported 20 Minutes.
Over the weekend the SonntagsZeitung reported that Tedros Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, had described the fact that so far three quarters of all vaccinations had been administered in only 10 countries as a moral scandal.
Switzerland and other wealthy nations were also criticised by the WHO for vaccinating young people aged 12-16 with doses of vaccine that should instead be provided to more vulnerable people in poor nations.
Currently, nations with the lowest vaccination rates are among the poorest. So far, only 3% of people on the continent of Africa have been vaccinated against Covid-19. In nations like the DRC (0.09%) and South Sudan (0.49%), the rates are less than 1%.
According to Ghebreyesus, all of the doses administered so far would have been sufficient to protect all of the oldest and health workers globally. He criticised Switzerland and other nations such as the UK and Canada for buying doses for their entire populations without accounting for vaccine hesitancy. He also disapproved of rich nations vaccinating healthy children and adolescents, who don’t gain much benefit from vaccination.
Responding to the criticism, Virginie Masserey, the head of infectious disease control at Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), told RTS that Switzerland has invested heavily in the equitable distribution of vaccines. She said that there are no stocks of vaccines in Switzerland that exceed what is needed to supply Switzerland’s ongoing vaccination programme. All of the doses we don’t need are in the process of being redirected to countries that need them. In addition, Switzerland has donated hundreds of millions of francs, including 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, to Covax, an organisation distributing vaccines to poorer nations.
Regarding the vaccination of 12-16 year olds, Masserey described the number of vaccinations among this group as tiny. There are around 300,000 in this age group in Switzerland. If half were vaccinated, then it would be only 150,000 people, a small number when compared to Switzerland’s significant contribution to Covax.