UN to debate challenge of global vaccine access | Daily News

UN to debate challenge of global vaccine access

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly called for vaccines to be treated as a "global public good".
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly called for vaccines to be treated as a "global public good".

UN: At the initiative of Britain, which boasts of having an effective vaccination programme, the UN Security Council on Wednesday will debate the problem of global access to COVID-19 vaccines, raising issues likely to underscore sharp differences between council members.

How, for example, can vaccines be distributed fairly -- without, as has been the case, going first to the richest countries in the North while those in the South suffer?

Should blue-helmeted UN peacekeeping troops in some 15 countries, along with other UN employees deployed around the world, be declared essential workers and receive vaccine priority -- including in countries yet to receive vaccine doses?

If so, who should provide the jabs -- the United Nations, the troops' countries of origin or those where they are deployed?

"Vaccine, vaccination is not really the job of the Security Council," said one ambassador, speaking on grounds of anonymity.

The Security Council, with a mission of maintaining peace and security around the world, has no special health expertise, the ambassador noted, adding, "the Security Council can just have a contribution." Vaccination "is the big challenge now," said Olof Skoog, the European Union Ambassador to the Council. "A long way to go before people are fully vaccinated."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly sounded a warning that as the virus and its multiple variants spread around the world, global security can be assured only if everyone enjoys the same level of protection.

He has repeatedly called for vaccines to be treated as a "global public good," without specifying exactly how that might happen. - AFP