After COVAX Blunder, New WHO Chief Needed

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After nearly two years into the pandemic, it is clear the World Health Organization failed to rally support for COVAX and hold wealthy nations accountable for not honoring their vaccine commitments while they hoarded the bulk of the world’s doses, according to AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). In light of this, AHF calls on United Nations Member States to nominate and elect a new WHO Director-General – a leader who can mobilize and coordinate the resources needed to ensure people in low- and middle-income countries get access to lifesaving vaccines.

COVAX, which was touted as the best mechanism to get vaccines to the world’s poorest countries, has been woefully unsuccessful to date. WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has failed to secure the resources required to ensure the developing world has equitable vaccine access and did not fight for vaccine patent waivers from the start, which could have boosted worldwide production. COVAX vaccination targets were also set far too low at 20% of people in 92 lower-income countries when the WHO stated that 70% needed to be vaccinated to stop COVID-19.

“Vaccines are the best assets we have to protect the world’s population from the novel coronavirus – Dr. Tedros is well aware of that, which is why it’s so disappointing to see the state of vaccine access and the pandemic response today,” said AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung. “A person in his position does not get a re-do when so many people and nations are suffering from such a wide disparity in vaccine access. It’s time to appoint a new WHO Director-General who can turn the response around and get people on the African continent and elsewhere in developing countries the vaccines they need to be protected from COVID-19 and recover from the pandemic.”

COVAX is expected to fall nearly 30% short of its goal of 2 billion doses by the end of this year, and vaccine rollouts in many countries have been slow and uncoordinated, with hundreds of thousands of doses expired or having gone unused.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.6 million clients in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website:, find us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare