WHO chief 'happy' to get COVID-19 vaccine on camera

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WHO chief 'happy' to get COVID-19 vaccine on camera

Friday, December 04, 2020

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GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization chief said Friday that he, like several former US presidents, would be happy to have a coronavirus vaccine to help promote public confidence.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed news that US president-elect Joe Biden, and former presidents Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton have said they will volunteer to get an approved vaccine on camera.

"It's a good idea... I think it's very good that they already have shown their commitment. They can influence," he told reporters.

"They are influencers."

Asked if he would do the likewise, Tedros said: "I would be happy to do the same thing. I would be happy to do it."

He stressed though that he would not want to jump the line and receive a jab needed by someone else, underlining the WHO's call for vaccines to be distributed equitably.

"I need to make sure it's my turn. I don't want to take anybody's vaccine," he said.

Britain on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a vaccine, from Pfizer-BioNTech, for general use, piling pressure on other countries to follow suit swiftly.

But experts have voiced concern over growing signs of vaccine hesitancy, with misinformation and mistrust colouring people's acceptance of scientific advances on the vaccines.

A WHO report published Friday highlighted that "harnessing social influences", by profiling people who are "particularly trusted" and willing to take a jab could help promote acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.

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