WHO urges end to 'disgraceful' vaccine inequity

World Health Organization urges world leaders to overturn the "disgraceful" global imbalance in access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Ben Ariel ,

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine
Flash 90

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday urged the 20 leaders with the power to overturn the "disgraceful" global imbalance in access to COVID-19 vaccines to reverse the tide before October, AFP reports.

The WHO's Bruce Aylward said the world should be "disgusted" -- and asked whether the situation could have been any worse had there been an active effort to block the planet's poor from getting vaccinated.

Aylward, the WHO's frontman on accessing the tools to fight the coronavirus pandemic, urged people to tell politicians and business tycoons that it was electorally and financially safe to increase vaccine coverage in poorer nations.

"There's probably 20 people in the world that are crucial to solving this equity problem," he told a WHO social media live interaction, according to AFP.

"They head the big companies that are in charge of this; they head the countries that are contracting most of the world's vaccines, and they head the countries that produce them,” he continued.

"We need those 20 people to say, 'we're going to solve this problem by the end of September. We're going to make sure that 10 percent of every country... is vaccinated,'" said Aylward.

The comments mark the second time this past week that the WHO has criticized global leader over the COVID-19 vaccines.

Last week, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the countries and companies controlling the supply of vaccine doses to prioritize addressing the drastic inequity in vaccine distribution between rich and poor nations.

The United States rejected the WHO appeal, saying the US has enough vaccines to both administer booster shots should they be needed as well as to supply poorer nations.