For months, the World Health Organization has called on countries to come together to ensure a fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines among rich and poor nations. Now it’s starting to lose patience.

On Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said drug manufacturers had prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries, where profits are highest, rather than submitting full dossiers to get the greenlight from the global health body. He said that could delay distribution through Covax, a WHO-backed initiative that aims to supply vaccines to poorer countries.

"The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure,” Tedros said. "Even as they speak the language of equitable access, some countries and companies continue to prioritize bilateral deals — going around Covax, driving up prices and attempting to jump to the front of the queue. This is wrong.”