UN calls for solidarity to finance global public vaccine

By Nora Quintanilla

United Nations, Sep 30 (efe-epa).- The United Nations on Wednesday called for solidarity and cooperation to cover a $35 billion deficit to fund its global Covid-19 vaccine access program.

It has received new commitments from the World Bank, several governments and major pharmaceutical companies.

UN secretary-general António Guterres led an international event with the World Health Organization, United Kingdom and South Africa to promote coordinated responses to the pandemic and vaccines that are accessible to all through its Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator program.

“It is in every country’s national and economic self-interest to work together to massively expand access to tests and treatments and to support a vaccine as a global public good, a people’s vaccine available and affordable for everyone everywhere,” he said at the opening of the virtual meeting.

One of the pillars of ACT is the Covax research platform, which has the largest portfolio of vaccines against Covid-19 with collaboration from 167 countries, representing more than two-thirds of the global population, mainly in Latin America and Europe, but with the notable absences of the United States and China.

The initiative has received nearly $3 billion so far that has been “critical” to getting it off the ground, Guterres said.

“Now we need to scale-up and ensure maximum impact – and that requires an additional $35 billion. That must begin with an immediate infusion of $15 billion,” he added.

“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,” Guterres continued.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the “impressive results” it is giving are ineffective without solidarity and reiterated the need for countries to make greater contributions to the initiative to accelerate the end of the pandemic.

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