Speaking of catastrophic moral failures, look who’s lecturing everyone about “castastrophic moral failures.” The fact that Tedros Gheybreyesus still heads the World Health Organization after helping cover Xi Jinping’s complicity for the COVID-19 pandemic is a moral indictment in itself. Today, Xi’s toady-in-chief at WHO decided to lecture countries that helped accelerate a vaccine about putting themselves at the head of their own lines:
The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the world is on the brink of a “moral failure” in ensuring coronavirus vaccines are distributed among the world’s poorest populations, and that the promise of equitable access to the vaccines “is at serious risk.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, speaking at the opening session of a meeting of its executive board, said the world had the opportunity to “write a different story” than those of past pandemics in which rich countries benefited from widespread access to vaccines while the world’s poor were neglected.
“We now face the real danger that even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world’s haves and have-nots,” he said.
While the “stunning scientific achievement” of developing a vaccine in under a year has become “a much-needed source of hope,” Dr. Tedros warned that the world must do more to ensure the equitable distribution of the finite supply of approved vaccines to poorer nations.
Well, guess whose money made that “stunning scientific achievement” possible in the first place? It certainly wasn’t WHO’s, and it certainly wasn’t Xi’s either. The US, UK, and other Western nations poured billions of dollars into untried technology through the pre-purchase of doses that no one knew would prove safe and effective. That massive infusion of capital is why these “stunning scientific achievements” exist in the first place, and the people who funded it have a moral and ethical claim to the doses for which they have already paid.
Furthermore, Tedros Ghebreyesus is the last man to be lecturing about pandemics and ethics. The WHO director put more effort into running interference for Xi and Beijing than in investigating and alerting the world about COVID-19 when it mattered. He then dragged his heels about acknowledging those failures, continuing to cover for Xi for pretty much the entire past year. Ghebreyesus tried to paint criticism of his leadership as racist rather than telling the truth, which is that WHO’s actions (and inactions) made this global pandemic much worse than it might otherwise have been. And let’s not forget Ghebreyesus’ role in covering up epidemics in Ethiopia prior to his WHO appointment — not one or two, but three of them.
The fact that Ghebreyesus still leads WHO should immediately discredit anything this organization says. Ghebreyesus’ history already does that for himself, and the fact that media outlets treat these proclamations with any merit speaks volumes for their own credibility.
None of this is to say we shouldn’t be concerned about vaccine access for developing countries. Of course we should plan for that, and the AstraZeneca vaccine looks very promising in that regard, both in logistics and in price. The same is true for poorer populations within our own countries. But that will take a ton of economic resources to accomplish, and we need to get our economies back up to full speed so we can generate those resources. We should pay a lot more attention to those efforts, and a lot less to Xi’s toady at WHO.
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