Vaccination of children ahead of poor countries a ‘moral catastrophe,’ WHO head says

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It is a “moral catastrophe” that low-risk children in wealthy countries such as the United States are getting vaccinated for the coronavirus while high-risk healthcare workers in poor nations aren't protected, said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday.

“In a handful of rich countries which have bought up the majority of the vaccine supply, lower-risk groups are now being vaccinated,” said Tedros, as he is known. “I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to COVAX.” COVAX is the global vaccine alliance and distribution network backed by the WHO and the United Nations.

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Tedros said that only 0.3% of all vaccines are going to low-income countries, not enough to vaccinate healthcare workers in poorer nations, such as India, which are being overwhelmed with an influx of coronavirus infections.

On the other hand, countries such as the U.S. and Canada have enough vaccines that they have started inoculating low-risk children as young as 12. Vaccine authorization for children does not mean that wealthy nations should prioritize giving it to them, said Kate O'Brien, director of the WHO's department of immunization on Thursday.

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However, a recent vaccine poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that less than one-third of parents in the U.S. plan to get their children vaccinated immediately, with many saying they want more evidence of the vaccine working before pushing their children to get immunized.





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