New Delhi: ‘Vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it’, said the World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, referring to countries that have entered into pre-purchase agreements with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers.Also Read - Omicron Spread, Increased Social Mixing May Lead To Surge In COVID Cases In Coming Weeks: WHO

Addressing the opening of the three-day World Health Summit in Berlin, Tedros asserted that the only way to recover from the pandemic was together and by making sure poorer countries had fair access to a vaccine. Also Read - Is Omicron Really Mild? Doctors Worldwide Are Saying The Otherwise

“It is natural that countries want to protect their own citizens first but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively. And the best way to do that is to vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries,” news agency AFP quoted the WHO chief as saying. Also Read - Fourth Dose Of COVID Vaccine Provides Limited Defense Against Omicron: Israel Study

“Let me be clear: vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it”, he warned the nations.

Meanwhile, the overall number of global coronavirus cases was nearing the 43 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 1,152,770.

As of Monday morning, the total number of cases stood at 42,918,008, while the death toll surged to 1,152,773. The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 8,633,194 and 225,215, respectively.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 7,864,811, while the country’s death toll soared to 118,534.