WHAT: It is clear that from the moment a vaccine is available, there won’t be enough supply for the entire world. Past pandemics - like H1N1 - have demonstrated how wealthy nations effectively monopolize the global vaccines supply. While a fair distribution of the vaccine across the globe should obviously happen, we know there are little chances of this occurring this time around.
However, we are deeply concerned that many countries will be left behind. As such, the bare minimum that needs to happen is for health workers from all countries - the first line of defense and those most affected by the pandemic - to get priority access to a vaccine.
This can be done and would require countries to put aside only a minimal amount of doses. Given the “small” size of the global health workers population, ensuring that those dealing with COVID-19 get priority access to the vaccine would require countries to share only a minor part of their stock of vaccines.
WHY: Health care workers around the world have been our first line of defense against COVID-19, while being the ones most at risk.
A functioning health system is the best tool that countries have to tackle, or at least slow down, the pandemic. A functioning health system depends for a vast majority of its operations on people: nurses, doctors, cleaners, cooks, technicians, and any other supporting personnel. All of these people face a tremendous risk of contagion, which could lead to the collapse of entire health systems. Giving access to the vaccine to health workers would help safeguard entire healthcare systems across the world.
- Letter to the WHO Director-General: we sent a request to the WHO Director-General asking him to ensure that health workers across the world get first access to vaccines. Previous frameworks could serve as examples, such as the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework.
- Petition: to ensure that the WHO considers this letter and takes action, we launched the Health Workers First campaign. Citizens of the world have the power to put pressure on the Director-General, world leaders, and stand by health workers! Influential health workers all across the globe have signed and are supporting this campaign!
WHEN: The campaign was launched on May 12th (International Nurses Day), just a few days ahead of the World Health Assembly during which we want world leaders to discuss this topic! We are pushing for the WHO to table our request there: whilst the Assembly happens every year, this is the time that will decide what the future holds for global health.
- Sign this campaign to put pressure on the W.H.O.: they can ensure that health workers across the world get priority access to future COVID-19 vaccines. Stand by those risking everything to protect the world. Say it loudly, say it proudly: #HealthWorkersFirst
- Share it widely around you: we are stronger together!
Do you have questions or requests? Email us at [email protected].
In addition, this article explains further why we need to table this issue, NOW!