WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

05-Mar-2021 00:05:24
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that the first COVID-19 vaccinations started in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, an "in addition to those two countries, COVAX has now delivered vaccines in Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Gambia, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Nigeria, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda." WHO
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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 04:18
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 01 MARCH 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
1. Close up, WHO emblem
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"As you know, this was a landmark week for COVAX, with the first vaccinations starting in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. In addition to those two countries, COVAX has now delivered vaccines in Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Gambia, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Nigeria, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda. In total, COVAX has delivered more than 20 million doses of vaccine to 20 countries. In the next week, COVAX will deliver 14.4 million doses to a further 31 countries."
3. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We currently face several barriers to increasing the speed and volume of production of vaccines, from export bans to shortages of raw materials including glass, plastic and stoppers. WHO is working on four approaches. The first and most short-term approach is to connect companies who are producing vaccines with other companies who have excess capacity to fill and finish. This could help to speed up production and increase volumes. For example, part of the deal between Johnson & Johnson and Merck announced this week is for Merck to provide fill and finish for the J&J vaccine. We need more partnerships like this, and we need them in all regions. WHO can support this process by identifying gaps and providing a “matchmaking” service between vaccine producers and companies with capacity."
5. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Many countries with vaccine manufacturing capacity can start producing their own vaccines by waiving intellectual property rights, as provided for in the TRIPS agreement. Those provisions are there for use in emergencies. If now is not a time to use them, then when?"
7. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Chair of the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation”
"Under the leadership of WHO, many partners, would need to be involved in this work, including many that are already active in COVAX. The Medicines Patent Pool is pleased to support the three-pronged approach by leveraging our close relationships with generic manufacturers across the globe to help identify suitable partners to fill and finished need s and potential recipients of technology transfer. And of course, we have a long experience of the licensing process, which will be needed to facilitate this partnership. And I know that the licensees which are issued maximize the benefit to global public health."
9. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"What the team have done to their credit is really worked hard to try and come up with their full report so we can have a proper discussion around a full report rather than having two discussions. One on a summary report where you will ask all the questions that need to be answered in a full report. So, there was no scrapping of an interim report. There was never a plan for an interim report. This is really trying to facilitate a good discussion with the international community, with media, with the public around what will be a full report. And then we can discuss where we go from there."
11. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We have said this again and again in the past with regard to previous emerging disease outbreaks that it is very difficult and sometimes takes years, if not decades, to understand disease origins. I alluded to Ebola, which we don't fully understand yet, the origins issues in Ebola. We don't understand all of the pathways into humans. We certainly don't understand that for SARS-Cov-1, we don't fully understand that for SARS-Cov-2. This is a process of discovery and it is a process of working in new ways with all countries. "
13. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
The arrival of vaccine is a moment of great hope. But it potentially also is a moment where we lose concentration. If I think I'm going to get a vaccine maybe in the next few weeks or the next six weeks or the next two months, maybe I'm not so careful anymore. Maybe I think I'm through this, right. You don't need a whole lot of people start thinking like that, that we give the virus opportunities to spread. We saw that in Europe. We saw that coming up to the Christmas period. Small changes in the behaviour of a large number of people can lead to huge changes in the epidemiology of this virus. I think we need to have learned that by now, so when we change our behaviour, the virus changes in terms of its capacity. So, we need to adapt our behaviour carefully, systematically, and we need to be very careful when exiting public health and social measures, however difficult they are. "
15. Close up, WHO emblem
STORYLINE
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, today (05 Mar) noted that the first COVID-19 vaccinations started in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, an "in addition to those two countries, COVAX has now delivered vaccines in Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Gambia, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Nigeria, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda."

In total, Tedros told reporters, “COVAX has delivered more than 20 million doses of vaccine to 20 countries. In the next week, COVAX will deliver 14.4 million doses to a further 31 countries."

The WHO Director-General said WHO currently faces “several barriers to increasing the speed and volume of production of vaccines, from export bans to shortages of raw materials including glass, plastic and stoppers.”

He said the Organization is working on four approaches, including connecting companies who are producing vaccines with others that have excess capacity, which “could help to speed up production and increase volumes.”

Tedros said, “many countries with vaccine manufacturing capacity can start producing their own vaccines by waiving intellectual property rights, as provided for in the TRIPS agreement. Those provisions are there for use in emergencies. If now is not a time to use them, then when?"

Briefing by video teleconference, the Chair of the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation, Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, said the Foundation is supporting a “three-pronged approach by leveraging our close relationships with generic manufacturers across the globe to help identify suitable partners to fill and finished need s and potential recipients of technology transfer.”

For his part, the Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, Mike Ryan, said, "it is very difficult and sometimes takes years, if not decades, to understand disease origins,” adding that “this is a process of discovery and it is a process of working in new ways with all countries."

Ryan said, "the arrival of vaccine is a moment of great hope. But it potentially also is a moment where we lose concentration.”

He said, “small changes in the behaviour of a large number of people can lead to huge changes in the epidemiology of this virus.”

Independent experts investigating the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19 will issue their final report later this month.

The findings from the mission to Wuhan - the Chinese city where the outbreak first began more than a year ago - together with a summary report, will be issued during the week of 14 March.
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