UN Warns Against 'Vaccine Nationalism'

Group's leader says COVID vaccines should be a 'global public good'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 10, 2020 12:22 PM CST
UN Warns Against 'Vaccine Nationalism'
Volunteers wait to be checked at a vaccine trial facility set at Soweto's Chris Sani Baragwanath Hospital outside Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday Nov. 30, 2020. Over 2,000 South African volunteers are on AstraZeneca's experimental coronavirus vaccine trial.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that "vaccine nationalism" is moving "at full speed," leaving poor people around the globe watching preparations for inoculations against the coronavirus in some rich nations and wondering if and when they will be vaccinated. The UN chief reiterated his call for vaccines to be treated as "a global public good," available to everyone, everywhere on the planet, especially in Africa. And he appealed for $4.2 billion in the next two months for the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, an ambitious project to buy and deliver coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poorest people, the AP reports.

After a virtual UN meeting with the African Union, Guterres said at a news conference that financing COVAX is the only way to guarantee vaccines will be available in Africa and other developing areas. Guterres said Africa’s 54 nations have registered more than 2.2 million cases of coronavirus infections and over 53,000 deaths from COVID-19. "There is real hope that vaccines—in combination with other public health measures—will help to overcome the pandemic," he said. But to end it, he added, vaccines must be available to all and "most African countries lack the financing to adequately respond to the crisis, due in part to declining demand and prices of their commodity exports."

(More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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