“COVID-19 Vaccine Must be Seen as Global Public Good Affordable for All”: Secretary-General Guterres

Addis  Ababa: The United Nations Secretary-GeneralAntónio Guterres said vaccines must be seen as a global public good available and affordable for all as COVID-19 respects no borders.

A virtual Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator first council meeting led by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom was held today.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, South African President and AU Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Rwandan President and UNEPA Chair Paul Kagame attended the meeting.

On the occasion, UN Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the need to cooperate, decide collectively, fund, and mobilize resources to fight the pandemic.

“The number one global security threat in our world today is the virus, it’s our common enemy, yet we still continue to struggle to collectively make all the decisions and devote all the resources we need to defeat it. But it is not too late; we must start immediately by massively expending new and existing tools that can rapidly respond to new cases and provide vital treatment to suppress transmission and save lives, especially for the next 12 months,” he said.

The secretary-general stressed that vaccine alone cannot solve the crisis, certainly not in the near term, “but starting now, vaccine must be seen as a global public good available and affordable for all because COVID-19 respects no borders.”

Guterres called on countries and stakeholders to fully support efforts designed to speed up development availabilities of COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and ensure equitable global access.

The ACT- Accelerator is the global solution we are looking for, he added.

South Africa and Norway are co-chairs of ACT Accelerator, a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, which is launched in April 2020.

AU Chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa said on the occasion “we now have to speed up the process of finding tools to combat the pandemic.”

He noted that everyone will agree that faced with a pandemic such as COVID-19, it is essential that humanity should have a sense when a vaccine is developed.

Ramaphosa stated that all countries, including my continent Africa, should benefit and not be left behind. Humanity requires that a vaccine should be regarded as a public good to benefit all.

WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom said the speed at which vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics have been developed for COVID-19 is nothing short of astonishing.

“We are now in the process of establishing a consensus on the international allocation of these products. But the ACT-Accelerator will not be able to deliver on its goals without a significance increase in funding.”

The 2.7 billion USD received is less than 10 percent of the total funding needed, he added.

According to him, “bilateral vaccine deals and vaccine nationalism could compromise equitable access and hold up progress for all countries in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.”

 

Source: Ethiopia News agency