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COVID-19: Vaccine Equality, Most Pressing Issue Of Our Times, – UN Chief

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UN Secretary-General, António Guterres says remarkable and rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines offered “great hope” that the devastating pandemic can be overcome if everyone was reached everywhere with the vaccine and as quickly as possible.

 

The UN chief in a video message to the first International Forum on COVID-19 vaccine cooperation, hosted by China on Thursday, said that the world should develop a Vaccine Plan.

 

The UN correspondent quoted Guterres as stressing the need for a Global Vaccine Plan to, at least double production of vaccines and ensure the equitable distribution, using COVAX as the platform.

 

“This is a matter of fairness and justice – but it’s also critical to avoid the emergence of further variants that can resist the current vaccines and undermine national vaccination efforts,” he said.

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The UN chief welcomed agreements signed in July with the UN-led equitable vaccine distribution initiative, COVAX, for the provision of Chinese-developed Sinopharm and Sinovac shots, saying the deal unlocked potential supplies of more than 500 million doses.

 

“Overall, however, more than 11 billion doses are needed to vaccinate 70 per cent of the global population; a key threshold to ending the acute phase of this pandemic,” he said.

 

“This will take the largest public health effort in history,” the secretary-general added.

 

The top UN official described the first meeting of the International Vaccine Forum as “a critical opportunity to bring together countries with vaccine production capacities, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers to advance global cooperation on vaccines”.

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He concluded his address by thanking the Government of China for its “leadership to address equitable access to vaccines for developing countries – the most pressing issue of our times.

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