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SEATTLE -- Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, released the following statement on the announcement by several nations regarding access to H1N1 vaccine by developing countries:
"We heartily applaud the commitment by nine nations to donate a portion of their H1N1 vaccine supply on a rolling basis to the World Health Organization for distribution to countries that would otherwise not have direct access.
Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all shown tremendous leadership. Wealthier countries have an obligation to ensure more equitable access to vaccines in this global pandemic. This issue is surely one of the most pressing moral challenges of our time.
This announcement underscores the interdependency of all people when it comes to matters of health. As important as the announced generosity is, we must keep in mind that the needs are great, and more must be done to ensure that all nations have access to vaccines and other tools.
We understand that these are hard decisions to make right now. We hope and expect that more nations will join this effort."