DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Global Immunization Possible By 2022 With Fair Vaccine Distribution: WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy

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By Ron Chen, Correspondent ASEAN Region

The World Government Summit Dialogues saw world leaders outline solutions to humanity’s most urgent challenges during the virtual event on 9-10 March.

Special Envoy on COVID-19 to the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. David Nabarro claimed the unfair weighting of vaccine access in favour of rich countries will delay the global recovery from the healthcare and economic crises, potentially beyond 2022.

“While the COVAX effort is commendable, if a few countries take the majority of the supplies and leave minimal cash and vaccine supplies behind for the rest, this is not ethical,” Dr. Nabarro said.

The current “free-for-all” approach to vaccine supplies with “a small number of nations trying to outbid one another”, doesn’t work. But “fair access to vaccine for everybody, the objective for immunization, at least by 2022, is a reasonable prospect,” he said.

Earlier, Director-General, WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said: “Vaccine nationalism will only prolong the pandemic, and the human and economic suffering that goes with it. Health must be seen not as a cost to be contained but as an investment in productive and resilient populations, and a key to sustainable development.”

Later, President, the Royal Society, the Right Honourable Lord Martin Rees said reasons to study and explore other planets must be carefully considered. He claimed: “The idea of Elon Musk to have a million people settle on Mars is a dangerous delusion. Living on Mars is no better than living on the South Pole or the tip of Mount Everest.

“The only reason for humans to go to space would be for adventure. To live on Mars is not going to be easy. Mars has a hostile environment.”

His thoughts were backed-up by the eminent astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, who said: “To ship a billion people to another planet to help them survive a catastrophe on earth seems unrealistic.”

The World Government Summit Dialogues convened leaders from around the world virtually to predict the trends that will shape the future, post-pandemic society.

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