WHO calls on Europe, pharma to ‘join up and speed up’ coronavirus jabs

The WHO Friday urged Europe and pharma firms to work together more closely, asking them to share vaccine doses with poorer countries and to speed up vaccination campaigns against the coronavirus.

“We need to join up to speed up vaccinations,” WHO Europe Regional Director Hans Kluge told AFP, adding that competing pharmaceutical companies should join forces to “drastically increase production capacity.”

He also suggested that wealthier nations share their vaccine doses with countries that can’t afford them once “elderly people, health care workers and people with comorbidity” had their turn. The WHO is one of the institutions behind the COVAX initiative set up for this purpose.

“Don’t wait until you have 70 percent [of your population vaccinated] to share with the Balkans, to share with central Asia, Africa,” Kluge said.

He also expressed concern over new mutations of the coronavirus, calling for countries to expand their genomic sequencing capacity.

Kluge repeated to AFP the WHO’s position against vaccine passports, which allow vaccinated people to travel, planned in countries such as Denmark. “That’s something that we are definitely not subscribing to because it will increase inequities,” he said.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a complimentary trial. 

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