As Covid toll crosses 5M, UN Secy Gen calls for vaccine equity

New Delhi: Terming the five million lives lost to Covid-19 a “painful new threshold”, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for vaccine equity and said this “devastating milestone reminds us that we are failing much of the world”.

“These are not numbers on a page. They are mothers and fathers. Brothers and sisters. Daughters and sons. Family, friends, and colleagues. Lives cut short by a merciless virus that respects no borders. This devastating milestone reminds us that we are failing much of the world,” he said.

While wealthy countries are rolling out third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, only about five percent of people in Africa are fully vaccinated. “This is a global shame. Five million deaths should also stand as a clear warning: we cannot let our guard down,” he warned.

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Urging the world leaders to fully support the Global Vaccination Strategy I launched with the World Health Organisation last month, Guterres said: “We need to get vaccines into the arms of 40 percent of people in all countries by the end of this year — and 70 percent by mid-2022.”

He also called on the world leaders to deliver with urgency and scale, address funding gaps and coordinate their actions for success, according to a UN release.

“The best way to honour those five million people lost — and support health workers fighting this virus every day — is to make vaccine equity a reality by accelerating our efforts and ensuring maximum vigilance to defeat this virus,” he said.

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