The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday in a statement, hit out at “vaccine nationalism and vaccine hoarding” by wealthier countries, one year after the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was declared.
Guterres said the world had faced a “tsunami of suffering” in the past one year, adding that while vaccine rollouts bring some light at the end of the tunnel, that he was deeply concerned at discrepancies in access to jabs.
“We see many examples of vaccine nationalism and vaccine hoarding in wealthier countries, as well as continued side deals with manufacturers that undermine access for all,” the UN chief said.
“The global vaccination campaign represents the greatest moral test of our times.
“Many low-income countries have not yet received a single vaccine dose, while some wealthier countries are on track to getting shots to their whole populations.’’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had on Thursday declared a global pandemic.
The WHO Chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus, also expressed concern about inequality in vaccine distribution.
He has repeatedly warned that if the virus spreads unhindered in some parts of the world, mutations and variants can pose a threat everywhere.
The COVAX vaccine equality mechanism is set to provide around two billion doses of vaccines for underdeveloped countries by the end of 2021.
So far, 14.7 million doses have been delivered to 22 countries via COVAX, the chief executive of vaccine alliance Gavi had tweeted on Thursday.