United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday warned against “vaccine nationalism,” appealing for greater finance to secure inoculations for Africa.
“It’s true we are seeing vaccination nationalism moving at full speed,” Guterres said during a virtual meeting with the African Union.
The UN chief made this warning as wealthier nations are lining up to buy millions of doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines at the expense of much poorer nations.
Guterres reiterated his call for vaccines to be treated as “a global public good,” available to everyone, everywhere on the planet, especially in Africa, which is desperately in need of financing to “adequately respond to the crisis.”
To support this endeavor, he appealed for a 4.2-billion-U.S.-dollar funding in the next two months for COVAX, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure effective and equitable global access to vaccines.
The UN chief said fully funding COVAX is the only means to ensure any potential vaccines be available for the African continent and other developing countries.
“There are several vaccines in the pipeline for COVAX, and it is perfectly possible to deliver if the financing is guaranteed,” he said.
As of Thursday afternoon, Africa had registered a total of 2,304,485 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a total death toll of 54,856, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.