News ID: 301937
Published: 0138 GMT April 07, 2021

Amnesty International condemns rich countries for hoarding COVID-19 vaccines

Amnesty International condemns rich countries for hoarding COVID-19 vaccines

New Secretary-General of Amnesty International Agnes Callamard

Richer countries are failing a “rudimentary” test of global solidarity by hoarding COVID vaccines, Amnesty International said Wednesday as it accused some countries of exploiting the pandemic to undermine human rights.

In its annual report, the campaigning rights organization said the health crisis had exposed “broken” policies and that cooperation was the only way forward, according to AFP.

“The pandemic has cast a harsh light on the world’s inability to cooperate effectively and equitably,” said Agnes Callamard, who was appointed Amnesty’s secretary general last month.

“The richest countries have affected a near-monopoly of the world’s supply of vaccines, leaving countries with the fewest resources to face the worst health and human rights outcomes.”

Amnesty strongly criticized the decision by former US president Donald Trump to withdraw Washington from the World Health Organization (WHO) in the midst of the pandemic – a step now reversed by Trump’s successor Joe Biden.

Callamard called for an immediate acceleration of the global vaccine rollout, calling the inoculation campaign “a most fundamental, even rudimentary, test of the world’s capacity for cooperation”.

Since the coronavirus emerged in China in late 2019, the pandemic has claimed more than 2.8 million lives globally and infected at least 130 million people.

Despite regular calls for global solidarity from international organizations, figures show widening inequality in access to vaccines.

According to an AFP count, more than half the 680 million-plus doses administered worldwide have been in high-income countries, such as the United States, Britain and Israel, while the poorest have received only 0.1 percent of the doses.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that if the dangerous trend of vaccine nationalism and hoarding in wealthier countries continues, it could delay a global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We must ensure that vaccines are available & affordable to all as soon as possible,” Guterres said in a message posted on his Twitter account.

“No element of the global #COVID19 response is going as it should - from the vaccine production & distribution, to support for developing economies,” he said in another Twitter message.

In February, Guterres said that just 10 countries have administered 75% of the world’s available COVID-19 vaccine supply, while more than 130 countries haven’t even received their first doses, according to CNN.

Despite the production of different kinds of vaccines for the disease in several countries, the virus, which has spread to all countries, is still taking the lives of many people in the world.  

On Tuesday, Brazil registered more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours for the first time, the Health Ministry said, as the country reeled from a surge of infections that has made it the current epicenter of the pandemic.

The coronavirus claimed 4,195 lives in the deadliest day of the pandemic yet for the hard-hit country, whose total reported death toll is now nearly 337,000, second only to the United States, according to AFP.

Brazil’s health system is buckling under the strain of the latest virus wave, which has forced doctors into agonizing decisions over which patients to give life-saving care and led cemeteries to hold nighttime burials to deal with the crush of coffins.

The country of 212 million people has registered an average of 2,757 COVID-19 deaths per day over the past week, the highest by far worldwide.






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