Health Care

UN chief wants $8B to vaccinate 40 percent of population in every country by year’s end

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a press conference Thursday $8 billion should be contributed to vaccinate 40 percent of populations in every country against the coronavirus by the end of 2021. 

In the conference with the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Guterres said the Group of 20 needed to contribute to help get the world vaccinated, Reuters reported

“The whole U.N. system has shown leadership, but we have no power,” Guterres said. “The power is in the countries that produce vaccines or might produce them, and in the companies.”

The WHO is asking for countries with high vaccination rates to give additional doses to COVAX, a program that works to get vaccines to areas of the world with little coverage.

The organization also wants countries to make new donation commitments and fill the ones they have already agreed to. 

Our World in Data shows less than 5 percent of Africans fully vaccinated and less than half the world with one shot of the vaccine, according to Reuters.

“Not to have equitable distribution of vaccines is not only a question of being immoral, it is also a question of being stupid,” Guterres said.

The WHO has been calling for months for a moratorium on vaccine boosters in rich countries.

While more than half the world has not been vaccinated, some richer companies have begun giving a third booster shot to their citizens. 

“We have been calling for vaccine equity from the beginning, not after the richest countries have been taken care of,” Tedros previously said. “I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers.”

The WHO is aiming for 70 percent of the world to have one shot of the vaccine by the middle of 2022.

–Updated at 6:17 p.m.

Tags Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus vaccine equity WHO

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