In wake of the Covid-19 pandemic claiming 2 million lives, the head of the United Nations has called for countries to "commit now" to share excess doses of vaccines.
"The world’s leading economies have a special responsibility. Yet today we are seeing a vaccine vacuum. Vaccines are reaching high income countries quickly, while the world’s poorest have none at all," UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a video message on Thursday.
"Some countries are pursuing side deals, even procuring beyond need. Governments have a responsibility to protect their populations, but 'vaccinationalism' is self-defeating and will delay a global recovery," Guterres said. "We need manufacturers to step up their commitment to work with the COVAX facility and countries around the world to ensure enough supply and fair distribution. We need countries to commit now to sharing excess doses of vaccines."
Guterres specifically referred to COVAX, a World Health Organization global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for all countries.
"Sadly, the deadly impact of the pandemic has been made worse by the absence of a global coordinated effort. In the memory of those two million souls, the world must act with far greater solidarity," Guterres said in his video message.
"Safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out — and the UN is supporting countries to mobilize the largest global immunization effort in history. We are committed to making sure that vaccines are seen as global public goods — people’s vaccines."