UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged world leaders to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are available and affordable for “everyone” amid major concerns. rich countries could be captured by rich countries at the expense of the poor.
Speaking to the German parliament on Friday in a speech to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN, Guterres vaccines must be seen as a “global public good”.
“They have to be accessible and affordable in everyone,” he said.
His comments came after reports earlier this week that the global scheme to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries faced a “very high” risk of failure, possibly leaving countries at home for billions of people. which had no access to inoculations until 2024.
The COVAX program is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the leading global scheme to vaccinate people in poor and middle-income countries around the world against COVID -19.
It aims to deliver 1.3 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021 to cover 20 per cent of the most vulnerable in 92 low- and middle-income countries, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, at the highest cost of $ 3 per dose.
COVAX said Friday it has received nearly two billion doses, doubling its supply, with first delivery expected in the first quarter of 2021.
But in internal documents reviewed by Reuters news agency, the scheme’s promoters say the program is motivated by a range of issues – including lack of funding, supply risks and complex contractual arrangements – which may make it impossible to achieve its objectives.
“The risk of a successful COVAX facility being set up is very high,” said an internal report to the board of Gavi, an alliance of governments, drug companies, charities and international organizations that organize global vaccination campaigns. Gavi co-directs COVAX with the WHO.
The failure of the facility could leave people in poor countries with no access to COVID-19 vaccines until 2024, one of the documents says.
Rich countries have already retained most of the currently available vaccine sources.
‘Incorrect information virus’
At the same time Guterres went on in his speech to praise the researchers from the German biotechnology company BioNTech who teamed up with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and defeated competitors in the race to launch of the first fully-tested vaccine on the market.
He expressed “huge thanks for the great contribution” made by the company’s founders, Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, whose vaccine was breached by a regulatory license in several growing countries.
He said the UN was committed to providing news and advice that people can trust and work to build confidence in the “science-led, fact-based” vaccine to counter the allegations. it is an “misinformation virus”.
“Across the globe, we have seen how populist practices that evade science have deceived the public,” Guterres said. “Along with false news and wild conspiracies, things have gotten worse.”
He also praised Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying she had “a guided, steadfast, compassionate and wise hand” in helping to lead Germany through the pandemic.
“I commend your early and decisive steps led by science, local data and local action to eradicate the spread of the virus and save lives,” he said.
After appearing in the German parliament, Guterres planned to hold talks with Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. On Thursday, he met with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
The UN Charter, founded by the New York-based international organization, came into force on October 24, 1945. Today, 193 countries belong to the organization.
Germany is currently one of the 10 non-permanent members of the 15-state Security Council, the most important body of the UN.
The country ‘s two – year term as a member of the Security Council is set to end on December 31.