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UPDATE 2 - UNGA president calls for 'fair access’ to virus vaccine

UPDATE 2 - UNGA president calls for 'fair access’ to virus vaccine
Vaccine's potency depends on vaccination of large segments globally, says Volkan Bozkir


By Beyza Binnur Donmez

ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish president of the 75th UN General Assembly said Thursday that "fair access" to a coronavirus vaccine is vital, during opening remarks at a COVID-19 summit.

Volkan Bozkir emphasized the effectiveness of the vaccine depends on the vaccination of large segments of the globe.

"First, we must start with ensuring fair and equitable access to the vaccine. Providing everyone with access to COVID-19 vaccines is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. From a moral standpoint, we have an obligation to leave no one behind and protect the most vulnerable," said Bozkir.

"From a practical standpoint, the value of any vaccine is entirely dependent on how many people can get it. So, we must strengthen political and resource mobilization for multilateral initiatives that aim toward the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine," he added.

Mentioning the pandemic's effect on the economy, he said the world is facing the "deepest" global economic recession since the Great Depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s and the biggest loss of income since 1870.

"The world economy has shrunk by 4.4%. Global extreme poverty is expected to rise for the first time in over 20 years. Up to 115 million people are at risk of being pushed into extreme poverty," Bozkir said.

He said the world is looking to the UN for leadership in addressing the coronavirus and the UN is obliged to fulfill the task.

- Vaccine cannot undo damage caused by virus

“The vaccines maybe come available within the next weeks and months, but let's not fool ourselves,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, adding that the vaccine “cannot undo” the damage caused by the epidemic that may last for years and decades.

Noting that extreme poverty is rising as well as the threat of famine, Guterres warned that humanity is facing the “biggest global economic crisis of eight decades.”

He said the pandemic exposed all these threats by long-standing inequality and injustice. "It is time to reset. As we build a strong recovery, we must seize the opportunity for change."

The UN chief reiterated that the vaccine must be a global public good available for everyone and everywhere and the World Health Organization's global vaccination program, The ACT Accelerator and its COVAX facility, are “the tools to get us there.”

He said the UN is facing a funding deficit of $28 billion, including $4.3 billion this is urgently needed for the next 2 months for its vaccine program.

More than 100 world leaders and high-ranking officials gathered for the two-day special session to discuss a global response to the pandemic.

The world is getting closer to a coronavirus vaccine as candidates by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are pending approval in the US and Europe with 95% and 94.1% efficiency, respectively.

More than 64.4 million infections and nearly 1.5 million fatalities have been recorded globally, according to a running tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

source: News Feed
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