With the vast majority of countries tragically behind in securing enough—or for some, even any—COVID-19 vaccines for their citizens, it is painfully clear that the world needs an urgent and innovative call to action to have a real chance at defeating the global pandemic. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest provider of HIV/AIDS care and treatment worldwide, is spearheading a global initiative calling on governments, vaccine manufacturers and international public health institutions to ‘VOW’ to protect humanity and provide equal access to COVID-19 vaccines and “Vaccinate Our World!” The ‘VOW’ call to action kicks off this week with a multimedia advocacy campaign, which will be followed in the coming weeks with formal and/or virtual press events in Bangkok, Johannesburg, London, São Paulo and Washington, D.C.
This ambitious but achievable ‘Vaccinate Our World’ call to action includes five primary tenets:
“If the immorality of vaccine rationing doesn’t bother you, the danger it poses to the world should. Even though wealthy nations said at the start of the pandemic that everyone would get vaccines, low-income countries have received less than one percent of the total 773 million worldwide doses that have been administered,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “We’ve exceeded 140 million worldwide COVID-19 cases and more than 3 million deaths globally. Meanwhile, wealthy countries selfishly hoard vaccines, and experts predict it will likely take until the end of 2022 to get lifesaving doses to the world’s most vulnerable populations. That is unacceptable – NO country will be safe until every country is safe and every ember of the COVID-19 wildfire is extinguished. The world must collectively VOW to end this pandemic by taking all necessary steps to ‘Vaccinate Our World’ now!”
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros AdhanomGhebreyesus recently remarked that 87% of the more than 700 million vaccines administered globally have gone to high-income or upper-middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received a mere 0.2%. High-income countries have vaccinated on average 1 in 4 people, whereas only 1 in more than 500 people in low-income countries has received a COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition to securing sufficient funding for vaccine procurement, vaccine production must be increased worldwide, and access to patents should be free-flowing to allow for the rapid scale-up of production. Ending the pandemic will also require much more information sharing and cooperation between nations—including removing self-imposed restrictions on vaccine exports for those countries with a surplus. Leaders from the G20 and global financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank must also VOW to step up their contributions immediately.
“There is hard work and heavy lifting to be done – but with a world united – we can, and must do it,” added Weinstein. “Nations around the globe have spent trillions of dollars in fighting the novel coronavirus—and lost trillions in productivity and with their economies devastated. $100 billion is a small price to pay to protect everyone on the planet with lifesaving vaccinations. World leaders, vaccine manufacturers, international public health organizations and everyday citizens—we all must VOW together to ‘Vaccinate Our World’ if we’re truly going to defeat this pandemic.”
“Vaccinate Our World” will launch this week, beginning with advocacy on social media and via other public awareness materials that will be distributed throughout several of the 45 countries where AHF operates.
AHF partners and advocates will also roll out newspaper ads in support of the global campaign to Vaccinate Our World running in major daily newspapers in at least eight countries around the world. The VOW newspaper ads will run first in India starting this week. Here is a list of the countries and news outlets where VOW campaign ads will be published:
In addition to the press conferences and events coming up in the following weeks, be on the lookout for #VaccinateOurWorld and #VOWnow actions—join the fight and VOW to protect humanity! For more information on the campaign, please visit www.VaccinateOurWorld.org
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.5 million clients in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare
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