The head of the World Health Organization has called for fair distribution of coronavirus vaccines while raising the alert over the latest increase in infections.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters that the vaccine rollout has begun in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire under the COVAX Facility. It is an international framework to ensure fair access to vaccines.
He said 237 million doses will be allocated to 142 economies and countries participating in COVAX by the end of May.
But the director-general asked international communities to cooperate in providing vaccines to countries experiencing delays in supply as the gap is still large.
He said, "It's regrettable that some countries continue to prioritize vaccinating younger, healthier adults at lower risk in their own populations ahead of health workers and older people elsewhere."
Tedros noted that the number of reported coronavirus cases in the past week rose globally for the first time in seven weeks.
He said the increase appears to be due partially to relaxing of public health measures and continued circulation of variants.
He stressed the necessity to continue basic public health measures without relying solely on vaccines.
For individuals, he stressed the need to avoid crowds, to physically distance, to practice hand hygiene, to wear masks, and ensure proper ventilation.