UN Appeals To Rich Nations To Share Vaccines

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the media during a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas after a meeting in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, pool)

BERLIN — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is appealing to rich nations to support the purchase of coronavirus vaccines for poor countries.

Guterres says the U.N.-backed COVAX program needs $5 billion until the end of January. The program, created to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, currently faces a shortfall of more than $20 billion, he says.

“At the same time, I see countries that have bought more vaccines than several times the volume of their population or at least made the bids in that regard,” said Guterres, urging governments to donate excess doses to COVAX.

He notes it is in the best interest of the world to ensure broad immunization because “nature always strikes back.”

“If we don’t eradicate the disease, a virus can mutate,” he says, “and vaccines that at a certain moment are effective can no longer be effective if things change.”

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