America’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has called on pharmaceutical companies and institutes developing coronavirus vaccines to ensure that they are available in all countries, not only the wealthy ones.
As companies talk about the ability to make billions of doses, “we don’t need hundreds of millions for the rich countries,” Fauci told a webinar held by British thinktank Chatham House.
“We need billions [of vaccine doses], so whether you live in the darkest part of the developing world, or if you live in London, you should have the same access.”
Vaccines clearly have the potential to turn the coronavirus crisis around, Fauci added, but noted that if Covid-19 becomes endemic, there may be a need to re-vaccinate people intermittently.
The comments by the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases came days after Pfizer said its vaccine candidate was 90 percent effective based on initial results from a large-scale trial.
However, Fauci doubts “we’re going to eradicate” the virus, and “this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically.” Although vaccines could act as a kind of “cavalry” in the fight against Covid-19, Fauci urged the public not to “put your weapons down” just yet and to wear masks.
The pandemic has also shown the need for coordination of efforts, he said. Admitting that the UN’s World Health Organization was not perfect, he added: “But the world does need a global health organization.”
Fauci has overseen the fight against Covid-19 in the US – the worst-affected country in the world – where more than 10.4 million cases have been recorded to date and over 241,000 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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