The world is no longer just at risk of "vaccine apartheid" - according to the WHO, we've reached it.
Vaccine rollout is well underway in wealthy countries, while poorer nations have little to no supply.
Scientists are calling for vaccine manufacturers and wealthy nations to share their shots.
ZURICH (Reuters) - The world has reached a situation of "vaccine apartheid," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
While wealthier countries like the US have stockpiles of vaccines, some poorer nations have yet to secure any doses.
Nearly a dozen countries, including Chad, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Eritrea, and Tanzania, haven't received any vaccines at all, the Associated Press reported last week.
"The big problem is a lack of sharing. So the solution is more sharing," Ghebreyesus said at a virtual Paris Peace Forum event.
Earlier, he called on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to make shots available to the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility sooner than planned due to a supply shortfall left by Indian export disruptions.
In India, the spread of the highly transmissible B.1.617 variant threatens to outpace vaccine rollout. As cases began to surge, healthcare workers had to shift their focus away from administering shots to caring for hospitalized patients.
Even if the current vaccines don't work as well against the emerging variant, they will help slow the spread and decrease deaths due to COVID-19 - which is why experts are calling for more vaccines in India, fast.
"COVID-19 has shown that our fates are inextricably linked," Ghebreyesus said in February. "Whether we win or lose, we will do so together."
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