WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

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09-Apr-2021 00:05:17
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries to support the COVAX facility adding that bilateral arrangements to deliver COVID-19 vaccines “run the risk of fanning the flames of vaccine inequity” and stressed that “this is a time for partnership, not patronage.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 5:17
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 09 APRIL 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, WHO headquarters

09 APRIL 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“As you know, at the beginning of the year we issued a call for vaccination to begin in all countries within the first 100 days of the year. Tomorrow is day 100. Out of 220 countries and economies, 194 have now started vaccination, and 26 have not. Of those, seven have received vaccines and could start, and a further five countries should receive their vaccines in the coming days. That leaves 14 countries who have not yet begun vaccination, for a range of reasons.”
4. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines. More than 700 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, but over 87 per cent have gone to high income or upper middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.2 per cent. On average in high-income countries, almost one in four people has received a vaccine. In low-income countries, it’s one in more than 500. Let me repeat that: one in four versus one in 500.”
6. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“COVAX works. It’s a strong mechanism that can distribute vaccines faster and more efficiently than any other mechanism. The problem is not getting vaccines out of COVAX; the problem is getting them in. We understand that some countries and companies plan to do their own bilateral vaccine donations, bypassing COVAX for their own political or commercial reasons. These bilateral arrangements run the risk of fanning the flames of vaccine inequity. This is a time for partnership, not patronage.”
8. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The COVID-19 subcommittee of the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety has reviewed available information from Europe and other regions and has said that a causal relationship between the vaccine and the occurrence of blood clots with low platelets is plausible, but more investigation is required. WHO, EMA and MHRA continue to recommend that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk of these very rare side effects. All vaccines and medicines carry a risk of side effects. In this case, the risks of severe disease and death from COVID-19 are many times higher than the very small risks related to the vaccine.”
10. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Rogerio Pinto de Sá Gaspar, Director, Regulation and Prequalification, World Health Organization (WHO):
“So, a very simple answer concerning Sinopharm and Sinovac. They are in the final stages of evaluation, a number of questions have already been answered, and we have convened a technical advisory group for vaccine assessment for the 26th of April. And we expect that at least one of the two could make the time for that committee to be discussed there. If one of those cannot make it for the 26th of April, we are planning also to have another technical advisory group on the week of May 3rd. So, between the two weeks, we expect that the final decision will be reached on the two vaccines. Thank you."
12. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director-General and Head of the ACT-Accelerator Coordination Hub, World Health Organization (WHO): (speaking about the situation in Brazil)
“Even by the time you get vaccines into a country, by the time you get them into people and you're getting into a relatively small proportion of the population, that will have a small effect in limiting the risk to some people. But what you're dealing with here (in Brazil) is a raging inferno of an outbreak, and that requires population level action in the rapid identification, isolation, quarantining, because we have to approach this at that scale to slow this thing down."
14. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical lead, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Vaccines and vaccination are another incredibly powerful tool, but they will not end this pandemic. What will end this pandemic is a comprehensive approach of everyone playing their part and being supported in being able to play their part. The trajectory of this pandemic around the world is going in the wrong direction. We have had six weeks in a row where there are increases in cases, deaths are increasing as well. And we have tools right now that can prevent infections and can save lives. So, we need to find reasons why measures aren't in place, whether these are policies or whether these are barriers to individuals carrying them out and find solutions to actually get these in place. It is about doing it all."
16. Wide shot, WHO emblem on wall in press room

STORYLINE:

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries to support the COVAX facility adding that bilateral arrangements to deliver COVID-19 vaccines “run the risk of fanning the flames of vaccine inequity” and stressed that “this is a time for partnership, not patronage.”

At a press conference in Geneva today (09 Apr), Dr Tedros noted that WHO had issued a call for vaccinations to begin in all countries within the first 100 days of the year. He added that, with tomorrow being day 100, “out of 220 countries and economies, 194 have now started vaccination, and 26 have not.” Of those, He said seven have received vaccines and could start, and a further five countries should receive their vaccines in the coming days, leaving 14 countries “who have not yet begun vaccination, for a range of reasons.”

The WHO Director-General said, “There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines. More than 700 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, but over 87 per cent have gone to high income or upper middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.2 per cent. On average in high-income countries, almost one in four people has received a vaccine. In low-income countries, it’s one in more than 500. Let me repeat that: one in four versus one in 500.”

Dr Tedros stressed that “COVAX works,” adding that it is a strong mechanism that can distribute vaccines “faster and more efficiently than any other mechanism.” He added, “The problem is not getting vaccines out of COVAX; the problem is getting them in. We understand that some countries and companies plan to do their own bilateral vaccine donations, bypassing COVAX for their own political or commercial reasons. These bilateral arrangements run the risk of fanning the flames of vaccine inequity. This is a time for partnership, not patronage.”

Turning to the AstraZeneca vaccined, Dr Tedros said the COVID-19 subcommittee of the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety has reviewed available information from Europe and other regions and has said that a causal relationship between the vaccine and the occurrence of blood clots with low platelets is plausible, but more investigation is required. He added, “WHO, EMA and MHRA continue to recommend that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk of these very rare side effects. All vaccines and medicines carry a risk of side effects. In this case, the risks of severe disease and death from COVID-19 are many times higher than the very small risks related to the vaccine.”

WHO’s Director of Regulation and Prequalification, Dr Rogerio Pinto de Sá Gaspar, both Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are in the final stages of evaluation, and “a number of questions have already been answered.” He said, “We have convened a technical advisory group for vaccine assessment for the 26th of April. And we expect that at least one of the two could make the time for that committee to be discussed there. If one of those cannot make it for the 26th of April, we are planning also to have another technical advisory group on the week of May 3rd. So, between the two weeks, we expect that the final decision will be reached on the two vaccines.”

Addressing the situation in Brazil, Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director-General and Head of the ACT-Accelerator Coordination Hub, said even by the time vaccines arrive to the country and are administered it will have a “small effect in limiting the risk to some people.” He stressed that Brazil was dealing with “a raging inferno of an outbreak, and that requires population level action in the rapid identification, isolation, quarantining, because we have to approach this at that scale to slow this thing down."

WHO’s COVID-19 Technical lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said vaccines are an incredibly powerful tool, “but they will not end this pandemic.” She underscored that what would end the pandemic is a “comprehensive approach of everyone playing their part and being supported in being able to play their part.” He noted that the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world is going in the “wrong direction.” She added, “We have had six weeks in a row where there are increases in cases, deaths are increasing as well. And we have tools right now that can prevent infections and can save lives. So, we need to find reasons why measures aren't in place, whether these are policies or whether these are barriers to individuals carrying them out and find solutions to actually get these in place. It is about doing it all."
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