WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus and Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca agree on enabling vaccine production globally without making intellectual property rights an issue.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during the opening of the 148th session of the Executive Board in Geneva.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during the opening of the 148th session of the Executive Board in Geneva. (Reuters)

Turkey has been a strong healthcare champion in 2021, the World Health Organization chief has said, adding that when the country produces a vaccine, it will help address "vaccine equity."

WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus was speaking at a twice-weekly Covid-19 webinar on Thursday also attended by Turkey's Health Minister Dr Fahrettin Koca and former Swedish prime minister, recently named WHO Special Envoy Carl Bildt.

Both Tedros and Koca agreed on enabling vaccine production globally without making intellectual property rights an issue.

"We believe that we will soon produce our own vaccine. Rest assured that your call upon vaccine-producing countries will be met with a clear response in Turkey,” Koca said.

"Our vaccine will definitely be offered for the use of the whole humanity. Right now, 100 countries do not have access to a Covid-19 vaccine which is why the vaccine to be produced in Turkey will be offered for the whole of humanity," he added.

READ MORE: Erdogan: Turkey plans to offer domestic vaccine to all humanity

Intellectual property rights waiver

Tedros, for his part, said, "I fully agree, local production is very, very important and WHO is ready to help countries. I think going forward, that vaccine equity could be addressed by increasing local and regional capacity in production.

"And we have also been calling for intellectual property waiver to help expand the production capacity significantly," said the WHO chief.

At the World Trade Organization, India and South Africa have called for a waiver of Trade and Intellectual Property Rules (TRIPS) for Covid-19 vaccines but have not yet achieved consensus in the world trade body.

Tedros and Koca also spoke in solidarity with healthcare workers.

"This is the year of the health and care worker. And we know that even before the pandemic, there was a shortfall of at least 18 million health workers, and as we work to end the pandemic and recover together, health and care workers must come first.

"We must ensure that they are trained, protected, and supported to do their job safely and effectively."

READ MORE: Turkey indigenously develops first vaccine at international standards

Source: AA