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Guterres Urges Countries to Support COVID-19 Vaccine Effort In Next 3 Month

Guterres Urges Countries to Support COVID-19 Vaccine Effort In Next 3 Month

Thursday, 1 October, 2020 - 06:30
FILE PHOTO: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres takes part in a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York, US, June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The UN Secretary-General on Wednesday called for all nations to provide urgently needed funds on behalf of global COVID-19 vaccine efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere, gets protection from the virus.

Guterres has urged the international community to provide $35 billion to fund planned efforts by the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator. About $15 billion of that is needed by year’s end to fund research, manufacturing, purchase of medicines and vaccines, and distribution.

The ACT-Accelerator was launched five months ago by the World Health Organization, European Commission, France, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

It has a goal of producing 2 billion vaccine doses, 245 million COVID treatments, and 500 million tests, and distributing them in low- and middle-income countries.

“These resources are crucial now to avoid losing the window of opportunity for advance purchase and production, to build stocks in parallel with licensing, to boost research, and to help countries prepare to optimize the new vaccines when they arrive.”

Any delay would further widen already vast inequalities, he warned.

“We need to think bigger. It is time for countries to draw funding from their own response and recovery program. By helping others, they will help themselves”, he noted.

The Secretary-General called on developed countries – which have devoted many trillions of dollars to respond to the socio-economic impacts of the crisis in their own countries – to “invest a small fraction of that, to stop the spread of the disease everywhere.”

“I call on all countries and partners to significantly step up in the next three months to provide much needed new and additional resources and to mobilize all partners and to put everyone behind a global response to deliver. Solidarity is self-interest,” he stressed.

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