United Nations chief calls out rich nations for ‘unfair’ vaccine distribution

The United Nations chief criticised the “wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, pointing out that just 10 countries have administered 75 percent of all vaccinations.

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations said 130 countries have not received a single dose of vaccine.

“At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community,” he said.

Guterres called for an urgent Global Vaccination Plan to bring together those with the power to ensure fair vaccine distribution to ensure all people in every nation get inoculated as soon as possible.

The secretary-general further called on the world’s leading economic powers in the Group of 20 to establish an emergency task force that should have the capacity to bring together “the pharmaceutical companies and key industry and logistics actors”.

The World Health Organization’s COVAX programme, an ambitious project to buy and deliver coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poorest people, has already missed its goal of beginning vaccination in poor countries at the same time that shots were rolled out in rich countries.

Numerous developing countries have rushed in recent weeks to sign their private deals to buy vaccines, unwilling to wait for COVAX.

The coronavirus has officially infected more than 109 million people and killed at least 2.4 million of them. But many countries have not yet started vaccination programmes and even rich nations are facing shortages of vaccine doses as manufacturers struggle to ramp up production.