President Biden will call on world leaders to commit to a goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within a year. The ambitious target, set to be formally announced during an upcoming summit, is very far from current vaccination rates in poorer countries with limited access to vaccines. The World Health Organization is warning that most of Africa has been left behind in pandemic recovery efforts, as wealthier countries and drug companies are blocking the fair distribution of vaccines.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “More than 5.7 billion doses have been administered globally, but only 2% of those have been administered in Africa. This leaves people at high risk of disease and death exposed to a deadly virus against which many other people around the world enjoy protection.”
A WHO official said this week a vaccine hub established in South Africa may take up to a year to replicate Moderna’s vaccine, as talks with the pharmaceutical company on sharing information have stalled. A recent Public Citizen report said the Biden administration has the authority to unilaterally share the recipe for Moderna’s vaccine with the world.
Meanwhile, Britain is the latest country to announce booster shots for people 50 and above and other more vulnerable groups. The U.N. has called for a halt on third doses amid the worsening vaccine apartheid between rich and poor countries.
Here in New York, two judges have temporarily put on hold vaccine mandates for state health workers and New York City teachers. Some health workers argue receiving the vaccine violates their religious beliefs.