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UN chief decries vaccine inequity, terms it 'biggest moral failure of our time'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

The United Nations chief has decried the “inequity” in COVID-19 vaccine distribution and hoarding of vaccines by rich countries, which has prolonged the fight against the pandemic.

In a tweet on Monday morning, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described the vaccine inequity as the “biggest moral failure of our time,” for which he stressed the people were “paying the price.”

“The pandemic will not go away until and unless we can ensure access to vaccines, tests and effective treatments to all families and communities,” the top UN official wrote.

 

Vaccine inequity is the biggest moral failure of our time – and people are paying the price.

The pandemic will not go away until and unless we can ensure access to vaccines, tests & effective treatments to ALL families & communities.

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) February 14, 2022

 

As per latest figures released by Johns Hopkins University, the tally of the COVID-19 infections has surpassed 411 million worldwide, fueled by the rapid spread of Omicron variant.

In addition, the fatalities from the cataclysmic virus reached 5,815,219 Monday.

The world health body says 500,000 people died from the pandemic in the past 5 weeks and over 130 million cases were also reported. Last week itself, 68,000 deaths were reported worldwide. 

Scientists have warned that the next COVID-19 variant may be more dangerous than Omicron, cautioning against letting the guard down.

The UN chief, in remarks late last year, had termed over five million COVID-19 deaths “a global shame.”

“We are on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong direction,” he told the UN General Assembly last September, adding that there were “supersized glaring inequalities” sparked by the pandemic.

The UN chief also denounced the unfair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, saying the majority of rich countries are immunized while more than 90 percent of Africa has not even received one jab.

“This is a moral indictment of the state of our world. It is an obscenity. We passed the science test. But we are getting an ‘F’ in ethics,” Guterres noted.

Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) also lashed out at lack of fairness in vaccine roll-out around the world.

The head of emergencies at the world health body, Michael Ryan, warned world powers in mid-January that the tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic could never end if huge inequities in vaccinations and medicines continue between rich and poor countries.


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