DW Interview

ICN CEO Howard Catton on DW TV: “It’s time for world leaders to step up to the ethical plate on vaccine equity”

15 April 2021

Speaking to Deutsche Welle television, after the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa, International Council of Nurses (ICN) CEO Howard Catton called on world leaders to “step up to the ethical plate on vaccine equity.”

Mr Catton said governments from around the world should help Africa increase the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines within its own countries. He pointed out that currently 99% of vaccine doses in Africa come from outside the continent. 

“We are really concerned that there is a gross inequality around the world to the access to vaccines. Out of all of the vaccines which have been delivered only about 2% have gone to the African continent. Wealthy countries are using their economic might to buy millions more doses than they need, across the range of vaccines, as a form of hoarding and control.

The consequences [of this practice] are that we are seeing younger and less vulnerable people receiving the vaccines in some high-income countries before healthcare workers in Africa and more vulnerable people in other places.

It could be 2022 or 2023 before all populations in some countries are vaccinated. More people will die because of this inequality, there is an absence of moral leadership which I think G20 leaders need to step up to. They should recognise that it is in both their health and economic self-interest to make sure vaccines are shared.”

See interview clips 1 and 2:

Clip 1 - here

Clip 2 - here

Download the communique here