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74th World Health Assembly to convene virtually


74th World Health Assembly to convene virtually

Photo: World Health Organization

The first day of the 74th World Health Assembly begins virtually today.

Delegates are expected to discuss COVID-19 recovery and prevention of future pandemics. Though the pandemic has had a devastating impact on all nations, it has been more severe in already disadvantaged communities. As such, individuals belonging to marginalized groups are more susceptible to the illness and less likely to have access to adequate healthcare. A critical concern in ending the pandemic will be addressing discrepancies in global vaccine access.

Problems including vaccine nationalism have sparked growing dissatisfaction among poorer countries that cannot afford high pharmaceutical prices. Stark disparities between developed and developing countries are expected to continue hindering efforts to address the pandemic, with over 75% of all vaccine doses being delivered to only ten countries, and with the lowest-income nations administering fewer than 5% of global doses. In the medium-term, the virus will likely continue to rage in countries with low inoculation rates. As the World Health Organization lacks the power and resources to increase global vaccination supply on its own, it is unlikely that the Assembly’s deliberations will contribute to an end to the global pandemic.

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