Vaccine must be seen as 'a global public good', says Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is seen on a video screen during a virtual climate summit, known as the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, in Berlin on 28 April 2020.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is seen on a video screen during a virtual climate summit, known as the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, in Berlin on 28 April 2020.Reuters
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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the international community to come together to defeat COVID-19.

"The virus is the number one global security threat in our world today," the UN chief on Wednesday said at a hybrid press conference, noting that this is the moment when "the international community needs to come together to defeat the virus", Xinhua news agency reported.

"Many pin their hopes on a vaccine - but let's be clear: there is no panacea in a pandemic," the secretary-general noted. "A vaccine alone cannot solve this crisis; certainly not in the near term."

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"We need to massively expand new and existing tools that can respond to new cases and provide vital treatment to suppress transmission and save lives, especially over the next 12 months," said Guterres.

The UN chief stressed that starting now, a vaccine must be seen as "a global public good, because COVID-19 respects no borders."

"We need a vaccine to be affordable and available to all - a people's vaccine," he noted. "That means a quantum leap in funding for the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX Facility."

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"For any vaccine to work, people across the globe need to be willing to take it," said the secretary-general, adding that "with the spread of the virus, we are also seeing a proliferation of misinformation about a future vaccine."

"This is fueling vaccine hesitancy and igniting wild conspiracy theories," he noted.

Guterres underscored that "mistrust in vaccines" is on the rise around the world.

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"We have seen alarming reports of large segments of the population in some countries indicating their reluctance or even refusal to take a future COVID-19 vaccine," he elaborated.

"In the face of this lethal disease, we must do our utmost to halt deadly misinformation," said the secretary-general.

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