United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday stressed affordability and availability of coronavirus vaccine, once it is manufactured commercially.
He came up with the call at a press conference ahead of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Week.
Guterres noted that the coronavirus outbreak is still out of control and the death toll from the virus would soon reach a one million-mark.
Recognising that many pin their hopes on a vaccine, he said, “Let’s be clear, there’s no panacea in a pandemic”.
“A vaccine alone cannot resolve this crisis, certainly not in the near term. We need to massively expand new and existing tools that can respond to new cases and provide vital treatment to suppress transmission and save lives, especially over the next 12 months.”
As virus “respects no borders”, a vaccine must be seen as “a global public good”, affordable and available to all, he said.
However, he underscored need for “a quantum leap in funding”.
Besides, people must be willing to be vaccinated, but a proliferation of misinformation on vaccines is fueling vaccine-hesitancy, and igniting wild conspiracy theories, noted the UN chief.
He spoke of “alarming reports” that large populations in various countries are reluctant to take a new coronavirus vaccine.
“In the face of this lethal disease, we must do our utmost to halt deadly misinformation”, affirmed the Secretary-General.
Guterres called for a global ceasefire back in March, recognising the coronavirus as “the number one global security threat in our world today”.
The UN chief recapped that “hopeful new steps toward peace” have been taken, from Afghanistan to Sudan, and a slowdown in fighting in Syria, Libya, Ukraine and elsewhere, had created an opportunity for diplomacy.
In Yemen, “We’re pressing for a ceasefire” he said, and even though “distrust is deep” across these and other crises, “We must persevere. We must seize every opening in the weeks ahead and make a new collective push for peace”, upheld the Secretary-General.
The UN Secretary-General speaks to the press, marring the opening of the 75th session of the General Assembly.
“Even before the pandemic, the world was far off course in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and losing the battle against climate change,” he said.