UN chief calls on G20 to take lead in creating global vaccine plan

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for “a global vaccination plan” against Covid-19 in an impassioned speech at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, describing the rollout so far as “widely uneven and unfair.”

“Defeating Covid-19, now that we have the scientific capacity to do so, is more important than ever … but at the moment vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the international community. We must ensure that everybody, everywhere can get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Guterres said.

He called on the Group of 20 developed and emerging powers to set up a task force which should devise and take the lead on a global vaccination plan that includes input from industry and aid partners.

Guterres stressed that a global inoculation strategy would also serve the interests of the industrial nations.

“If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in the global south or parts of it, it will mutate again and again … this can prolong the pandemic significantly,” he said.

So far, only 10 countries have administered 75 per cent of all Covid-19 vaccines, according to the UN, while 130 nations have not administered a single dose.

Britain, which holds the chair of the Security Council this month, plans to push for a resolution on a worldwide ceasefire that would allow those living in conflict zones to get Covid-19 vaccines.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said Wednesday that “at present, we know that more than 160 million people worldwide are at risk of being excluded from vaccinations because of instability and conflict.”

“So we’ve got a real challenge meet the shortfalls in securing supplies, delivering vaccinations on the ground,” he told the council.

“Ceasefires have been used to vaccinate the most vulnerable communities in the past. There is no reason we can’t do this. There’s no reason why we can’t, with the will that we can muster, come together to overcome the challenges.”