United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that 10 countries have administered 75% of all COVID-19 vaccines while 130 countries have not received a single dose, criticizing the distribution as “wildly uneven and unfair.”
“At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community,” Guterres said at a high-level meeting with the UN Security Council on Feb. 17.
“If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in the global South, it will mutate again and again. This can prolong the pandemic significantly, enabling the virus to come back to plague the global North,” Guterres also said.
Guterres called for an urgent global vaccination plan to bring together those with the power, expertise, and capacity to ensure all people in each country will receive the vaccine as soon as possible.
Guterres also called on the word’s largest economies in the Group of 20 to establish an emergency task force that should include all countries with the capacity to develop or to produce vaccines and should also “have the capacity to mobilize the pharmaceutical companies and key industry and logistics actors.”
Guterres also said that a meeting with the Group of Seven, which is comprised of the world’s largest developed economies, on Feb. 19 “can create the momentum to mobilize the necessary financial resources.”
“Together, we can ensure sufficient supply, fair distribution, and vaccine confidence,” Guterres said.