UN launches new campaign for global vax equity

The UN has launched a new global campaign to support its call for fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines around the world.

The campaign, ‘Only Together’, stresses the need for coordinated global action to ensure vaccines are accessible in all countries, starting with healthcare workers and the most vulnerable, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Only together can we protect healthcare workers and the world’s most vulnerable people,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his video remarks on the virtual launch of the campaign on Thursday.

Noting that with the promise of vaccines, the international community sees “light at the end of the tunnel”.

The UN chief said that scientists worked wonders, developing safe and effective vaccines in record time.

“We now have the tool to stop Covid-19 in its tracks. But so far, a small number of rich countries are rolling out a majority of the doses.

“Covid-19 vaccines must be considered a global public good. No country can overcome this crisis in isolation,” he added.

Also addressing the campaign launch, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed said: “Over the past year, we’ve all missed out on doing the things we love to do with others — eating, hugging, and going to school and work.

“Millions of us have lost someone we love or had our livelihoods taken away. An unprecedented global scientific effort for vaccines has given us hope to defeat the virus, but only if we work together to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to Covid-19 vaccines. Only together can we end the pandemic and transform a new era of hope.”

The biggest vaccine rollout in history is now underway with millions of doses being delivered around the world, including to some of the world’s poorest countries, through the efforts of COVAX, the global vaccine equity mechanism.

But these doses will initially only cover a small segment of the populations — healthcare workers and the most vulnerable.

By the end of 2021, COVAX aims to offer vaccines to nearly 30 percent of each participating country’s population.

COVAX, which is led by the World Health Organization, GAVI and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and in partnership with the Unicef, has 190 participating countries.

It needs more than $2 billion to fully meet its goal to vaccinate those most in need by the end of the year.