UN head stresses need of virus vaccine for all nations

BERLIN (AP) – The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) yesterday stressed that as wealthy nations roll out the coronavirus vaccine for their citizens, the world also needs to ensure it is available for “everyone, everywhere.”

In an address to Germany’s Parliament, Antonio Guterres praised the researchers from Germany’s BioNTech who teamed up with United States (US) giant Pfizer and beat rivals in the race to put the first thoroughly vetted vaccine on the market.

He said that every German should be “very proud of their achievements.”

“Our challenge now is to ensure that vaccines are treated as a public good – accessible and affordable to everyone, everywhere,” he said according to his prepared remarks.

He said the UN was also committed to providing news and advice people can trust and working to build confidence in the vaccine “guided by science, grounded in facts” to combat what he called the “virus of misinformation.”

“Across the globe we have seen how populist approaches that ignore science have misled the public,” Guterres said. “Coupled with false news and wild conspiracies, things have become manifestly worse.”

He also heaped praise on Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying her “no-nonsense, steady, compassionate and wise guiding hand” had helped steer Germany through the pandemic.

“I commend your early and decisive steps driven by science, local data and local action that suppressed transmission of the virus and saved lives,” he said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany. PHOTO: AP