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“Covid-19 Vaccination nationalism is advancing at high speed” – United Nations General António Guterres warns

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The head of the UN António Guterres has criticized the nationalism of vaccination that advances at great speed to the detriment of poor countries COVAX program, which aims to buy doses for the world’s most needy. He said “This runs the risk of becoming nothing more than a noble gesture,” as the wealthiest nations seek to first ensure their population.

While speaking on Thursday Antonio Guterres said, “Vaccination nationalism” is advancing “at high speed,” leaving the world’s poor watching preparations for coronavirus inoculations in some wealthy nations and wondering when and how their turn will be, the secretary warned Wednesday. United Nations General António Guterres.

The diplomat reiterated his call for vaccines to be treated as “a global public good”, available to everyone and across the planet, especially in Africa. For this reason, it requested 4.2 billion dollars in the next two months for the COVAX program of the World Health Organization (WHO), an ambitious project to buy and deliver the coronavirus vaccine to the world’s poorest.

Following a virtual summit between the UN and the African Union, Guterres told a press conference that funding COVAX is the only way to guarantee that vaccines will reach Africa and other developing areas.

For his part, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on COVID-19 last week that “the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.” to end the pandemic, but that vaccines “must be shared equally as global public goods, not as private assets that widen inequalities and become another reason why some people are left behind.”

According to Tedros, the WHO ACT-Accelerator program to develop and distribute vaccines quickly and equitably, which includes COVAX, “runs the risk of becoming nothing more than a noble gesture” if there are no significant new financial contributions. COVAX will need 23.9 billion by 2021, he noted, noting that it is less than half of 1% of the 11 trillion dollars of stimulus packages announced so far by the G-20.

Britain and Russia have already started vaccinating their populations against the coronavirus. In the United States, the vaccine from the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech could receive the green light for emergency use in the coming days, and that of Moderna in the coming weeks. Canada approved Pfizer’s on Wednesday.

Guterres noted that the 54 African nations reported more than 2.2 million cases of coronavirus and more than 53,000 deaths from COVID-19.

“There is real hope that vaccines, combined with other public health measures, will help overcome the pandemic,” he said. But this requires that vaccines be available to everyone, and “ most African countries lack the financing to respond adequately to the crisis, due in part to the drop in demand and prices of the products they export. ”, He added.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Africa, John Nkengasong, pointed out at the end of November that in the continent the vaccination campaigns against the coronavirus could not begin until the second quarter of 2021. This Wednesday, Nkengasong described it as a “moral issue” and urged the United Nations to hold a special session to address the ethical and fair distribution of vaccines to avoid this “north-south distrust of vaccines, which are a common good.”

Asked about vaccination times in Africa, Guterres said that “I hope we can do it before the second quarter, but it is true that what we are seeing today is a great effort by several countries to ensure vaccines for their own populations .” “It is true that we are seeing a nationalism of vaccination advancing at great speed, ” said the head of the UN.

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