UN member states demand ‘equitable’ access to future Covid-19 vaccines

UN/US • The 193 members of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Monday adopted by consensus a resolution that calls for “equitable, efficient and timely” access to any future vaccines developed to fight coronavirus.

The resolution also highlights the “crucial leading role” played by the World Health Organisation, which has faced criticism from Washington and others about its handling of the pandemic.

The resolution, which was drafted by Mexico and received US support, calls for strengthening the “scientific international cooperation necessary to combat Covid-19 and to bolster coordination”, including with the private sector.

The call for cooperation comes as research laboratories and pharmaceutical manufacturers launch expensive efforts to develop vaccines and other therapeutics that could be critical in fighting the pandemic, which has already killed more than 170,000 people (at press time) and sent world economies into tailspin.

The resolution asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (picture) to “to identify and recommend options, including approaches to rapidly scaling manufacturing and strengthening supply chains that promote and ensure fair, transparent, equitable, efficient and timely access to and distribution of preventive tools, laboratory testing, reagents and supporting materials, essential medical supplies, new diagnostics, drugs and future Covid-19 vaccines”.

It also asks that such measures to develop and share treatments and vaccines are taken “with a view to making them available to all those in need, in particular in developing countries”. — AFP