COVAX initiative becoming irrelevant: injustice and inequality

COVAX initiative becoming irrelevant: injustice and inequality

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Mar.3

Alper Ziya - Trend:

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, vaccination is now in the spotlight of all countries. Azerbaijan, like other countries, has already joined this process.

However, there are still problems with fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine around the world. Thus, COVAX cannot fulfill its obligations to ensure timely supply of vaccines to participating countries and distribution of vaccines among countries in accordance with the principles of equity and accessibility.

Azerbaijan, as one of the first countries to start the vaccination process, is very sensitive to the issue. President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly expressed concern about this.

The head of state again raised this issue at a press conference held on February 26 and lasting more than four hours with the participation of representatives of local and foreign media.

President Aliyev reminded that, on Azerbaijan's initiative, a special session of the UN General Assembly, dedicated to COVID-19 was held.

"The initiative was supported by more than 150 countries. This session took place in December last year. One of the theses that I voiced was the fair distribution of vaccines between countries of the world, so that there is no protectionism, nationalism in this matter. But, unfortunately, we see something completely different. We see that serious problems arise even between the allies which begin to count who, how many used vaccines and who, to whom didn’t give enough," said the president.

"Therefore, this situation once again suggests that, despite all the statements about solidarity, about the joint struggle, in reality we see the completely opposite. Some countries, for example, have purchased 3-4 times more vaccines than they need. For example, Canada. I talked about it. It means that it turns out that someone won’t have enough. But they don't care about that. They talk about equality, human rights, democracy, but in reality they infringe on the rights of millions of people," he said.

"Most likely, it will be observed that the rich countries will conduct vaccination, take production for themselves, completely ignoring the elementary norms of human behavior, and the poor should suffer. Unfortunately, to such countries there are sold more vaccines than necessary, and the sale of vaccines under the COVAX project isn’t controlled. This means that COVAX's obligations to supply vaccines to Member States aren’t being implemented timely and in a sufficient manner," said the president.

Let’s take Canada, for example. In this country there live 38 million people. But vaccines have been ordered in quantities that are four times more than necessary - for a population of 154 million.

Let's pay attention to one more fact: the population of developed countries is 14 percent of the world's population. However, developed countries have ordered 53 percent of the vaccines so far. Isn't this injustice and inequality?

Experts also confirm that the problems in this case are directly related to the incompetence of the initiators of the COVAX project.

The producer companies, out of commercial interests, are sending more vaccines to rich countries than they need. As a result, the number of doses of vaccines to be distributed to other countries under the COVAX project is significantly reduced and delays occur.

To solve the problems, this process must be controlled within the framework of the COVAX project, and for the manufacturing companies there must be set specific requirements. The concentration of a large volume of vaccines in the hands of several countries and the fact that other countries are left without them altogether is wrong and negatively affecting the fight against the pandemic.

If this problem is not addressed, the rights of poor countries will be violated and people's health threatened.

The Georgian government is also dissatisfied with the absence of supplies of Pfizer vaccines under the COVAX program for various reasons. However, claims that a country doesn’t meet the requirements for obtaining these vaccines are also justifications for non-implementation of obligations.

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