Pandemic will not end for anyone, ‘until it ends for everyone’

The COVID-19 pandemic “will not end for anyone, until it ends for everyone”, an independent UN human rights expert said on Friday, advocating for an equitable and globally-coordinated vaccine distribution programme.

UN News | Updated: 24-01-2021 01:53 IST | Created: 22-01-2021 23:07 IST
Pandemic will not end for anyone, ‘until it ends for everyone’
The last few weeks of 2020 witnessed the approval of several COVID-19 vaccines by regulators in various countries, “offering much hope to billions of people worldwide”, according to the UN expert. Image Credit: ANI

"The virus can still travel from the vastly unvaccinated massive population of the Global South to the Global North, including in its increasingly mutating forms", Obiora Okafor, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international solidarity, said in a statement.

He explained that with mutations constantly evolving, only inoculating rich countries would likely "complicate or delay" the eradication of the virus.

Skewed vaccine delivery

The last few weeks of 2020 witnessed the approval of several COVID-19 vaccines by regulators in various countries, "offering much hope to billions of people worldwide", according to the UN expert.

And while several states, mostly in the north, have already secured large quantities of vaccine and have begun inoculation campaigns, this has not been the case for most of the Global South, where close to 90 per cent of the world's population lives.

"The world, therefore, faces a sharp and highly problematic vaccine-divide in which the much richer Global North States, which host a very small percentage of the global population, have so far cornered the vast majority of available COVID-19 vaccines, leaving the bulk of the world's population with almost no access to these medicines", Mr Okafor said.

"A globally coordinated vaccine distribution programme is highly preferable to the individualized approaches adopted by all-too-many of the richer States", Mr Okafor said.

International vaccine solidarity

He said it was vital that States and non-State actors cooperate - such as through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX), which, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – or risk a stalled recovery.

While noting that COVAX aims to fairly distribute two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021, Mr Okafor emphasized that "international vaccine solidarity" be favoured over "international vaccine competition".

"Given the great urgency of ensuring for everyone, everywhere, as rapid and effective access to COVID-19 vaccines as possible, I, therefore, urge urgent and strong action by States and other actors toward a course correction", he said.

Click here for the names of the UN experts who endorsed the statement.

Fair access for migrants

Separately, UN independent experts González Morales and Tlaleng Mofokeng have urged States to ensure that migrants are also included in national COVID vaccination programmes, saying that global immunization access for everyone who needs them "is the only solution" to ending the pandemic.

This includes priority groups of vulnerable people "regardless of who they are" or their migration status, said the rights experts.

They also called on world leaders to refrain from the discriminatory discourse that could lead to the exclusion of migrants in irregular situations from the global public health response.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council and are neither UN staff nor paid for their work.

Visit UN News for more.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why unequal access to coronavirus vaccines is a threat to us all

... ...

India’s love affair with fossil fuels: the path to sustainable development?

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Hero MotoCorp adventure bike XPulse 200 crosses 10k sales mark in Kerala

The countrys largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp on Friday said its 200-cc adventure bike XPulse 200 has crossed the 10,000 sales mark in Kerala.Designed and developed completely in-house at the companys Jaipur-based RD hub, the model h...

German health official: be vigilant, or undo progress we've made

The head of Germanys RKI health institute warned the public to be vigilant in upholding social distancing since there was a risk otherwise of undoing progress in controlling coronavirus case numbers and triggering a third wave of the epidem...

'He's a gun': Richardson backs skipper Aaron Finch to return to form

Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson has voiced his support to skipper Aaron Finch, who has witnessed a slump in form during the recent outings in the shortest format of the game. Finch scored a paltry 12 during Australias chase of a mamm...

Irdai asks health, general insurers to bring standard accident cover from Apr

Insurance regulator Irdai has asked general and health insurance providers to provide standard personal accident cover products to their customers.The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India Irdai said the insurance market h...

Give Feedback